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Independent Member for Clark, Andrew Wilkie, has called for urgent political donation reform as new analysis and data reveal the outrageous amount of dark money flowing to political parties in Australia.

The Centre for Public Integrity has found that hidden donors have given more than $1bn to Federal political parties over the past two decades. Data on political donations released today by the Australian Electoral Commission confirms the trend of dark money continues, with the source of many donations not disclosed.

“This dark money is a cancer on democracy,” Mr Wilkie said. “Frankly it’s no better than wads of cash in a brown paper bag.

“Moreover, it’s outrageous we have to wait so long to learn the source of donations, and that the disclosure threshold is so high we never learn where the majority of the money came from. This is a clarion call for donation reform.

“It’s likely this dark money has come from dodgy sources. Don’t forget Crown has donated almost $2m to the Liberal and Labor parties in the past decade.”

Mr Wilkie declares all donations of more than $1000 in real-time and does not accept money from alcohol, tobacco or gambling companies.

“The laws must be updated to require this of all candidates and parties,” Mr Wilkie said. “There should also be a cap on donations from individual donors and the recognition that a political donation is any expenditure that benefits a party, like the campaign we saw from the poker machine industry in Tasmania supporting the Tasmanian Liberals before last state election. We also need a prohibition on Federal parties accepting political donations from any donor banned by state legislation.”