Independent Member for Clark, Andrew Wilkie, has called on the State Government to end the legalised corruption in Tasmanian politics by banning donations from the gambling industry and introducing real-time disclosure.
“Premier Peter Gutwein has promised a more transparent government in 2021 but his electoral reform framework falls short,” Mr Wilkie said. “Tasmanians should accept nothing less than real-time declaration of donations. A six-monthly update will still leave voters in the dark when they go to the polls.”
“Tasmania also needs a $1,000 disclosure threshold, a cap on the gross amount of donations from any one source during an electoral cycle, and a definition of ‘donation’ that includes any money or activity that materially benefits any party or candidate.”
Mr Wilkie said it was time for the major parties to get off the poker machine industry’s payroll for good.
“Let’s not forget the Tasmanian Liberal Party spent a record $4 million to ensure its re-election in 2018, when it campaigned on a staunchly pro-pokies policy,” he said. “We know some of that money came from the poker machine industry, but because of the existing $14,300 threshold for disclosure, and delays in making donations public, we will forever remain in the dark about the source of most of it.”
Mr Wilkie also called on the Premier to explain why his party received money from the powerful mainland poker machine lobby.
Earlier this month the Australian Electoral Commission revealed that in 2019-20 the Australian Hotel Association national office donated $13,800 to the Tasmanian Liberals, who also pocketed $11,000 from Clubs NSW.
“This looks like a thank you to the Tasmanian Liberals for seeing off Labor’s sensible policy to remove poker machines from pubs and clubs, which would have created a precedent for national reform,” Mr Wilkie said. “They interfered in our election because they knew what was at stake nationally. This is nothing short of legalised corruption.”
Mr Wilkie, who declares all donations of more than $1000 in real time and does not accept money from alcohol, tobacco or gambling companies, says the Premier should follow his lead.
“Tasmania’s laws must be updated to require this of all candidates and parties,” he said.