The NSW Government Is Threatening 10-Year Jail Terms And Tough New Rules On Political Donations

Tougher jail penalties. Photo: Getty Images

In the lead up to the March 2015 state election, NSW Premier Mike Baird has called for tougher penalties and greater transparency in order to prevent politicians breaching donation laws.

Baird has called for a package on legislative reforms – to be enacted prior to the election – that will see corrupt politicians face up to 10 years in prison.

“I share the community’s disgust at what has unfolded at the Independent Commission Against Corruption and am determined to take every necessary step to restore trust in the political process,” Baird said.

“This package sends the strongest possible message to all current and prospective political candidates – comply with the law or face up to 10 years in jail.”

Here’s a list of legislative changes to expect prior to the 2015 election.

  • Roughly double penalties for funding and disclosure offences
  • Prosecution following offences may commence up to 10 years later – up from three years
  • Up to 10 years imprisonment for third party donation arrangements to avoid expenditure caps
  • Disclosure of political donations required, dating back to 1 July 2014

Baird said there would also be changes to donation and spending caps for politicians and third party campaigners, as well as a new public funding model to be based on similar methods used nationally and in other states which rewards performance rather than spending.

The level of public funding will be determined by a dollar per vote model and payments will only be made up to the applicable, proven and audited spending cap.

“Breaking donations laws is not an administrative oversight – it is corrupt conduct,” Baird said.

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