Political donations: Parliamentary committee recommends banning foreign contributions

Political donations from foreign companies and individuals should be banned, a parliamentary committee has recommended..

The Joint Standing Committee on Electoral Matters recommended foreign citizens and entities be banned from donating to Australian registered political parties, associated entities and third parties.

In a report issued on Friday, the Committee further proposed the ban be extended to other political actors who may channel the money into political activities.

It also recommended harsher penalties for those who break the rules.

There is bipartisan support for the move to ban donations to political parties, but Labor and the Greens have opposed the extension of the ban to other groups.

In a dissenting report, Labor said the move could restrict the ability of not-for-profits to engage in the national debate about issues such as overseas aid.

It said that proposal should be subject to a further inquiry.

Opposition Leader Bill Shorten addressed media on the report on Friday, saying "there's no doubt in my mind that Australians want to see greater transparency and greater accountability".

"We can keep working through the issues together," he said.

"We've got to make sure Australians have confidence in our political process."

Left wing lobby group Get Up has also accused the Coalition of trying to silence its critics.

But committee chair and Liberal Senator Linda Reynolds told the ABC that it "in no way" targeted charities, universities or other groups who played an important role in democracy.

"The report very clearly indicates that this is only targeted at those who get involved in political campaigning," she said.


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