Saturday, March 01, 2008

The good, the bad and the strangely odd

The Rudd Government has already moved to reform campaign finance by introducing legislation ending tax deductability for political donations and planning to drop the disclosure threshold for political donations from $10,000 to lower than the original $1500.

At the end of his first 100 days PM Rudd Rudd was also signalling limiting certain types of political advertising and banning corporate donations. As a fan of restricting corruption, and influence through cash, this is a good story.

The law is terrible

After two weeks of opening argument in Australia’s latest terrorist trial the court has heard:

THEY may be "silly" young men, "clowns" who held views that were "downright wrong" but the 12 men of Muslim faith were no terrorists”

"What do males do when they get together?" asked Remy van de Wiel, QC, the lawyer for the alleged leader of the group, Abdul Nacer Benbrika. "It's the great Australian thing that they all do … they bullshit to each other … Bravado, bluster, nonsense. They all want to be heroes and they all say things that none of them mean to make themselves heroes in their own lunchtime."

Can’t I walk?

Four men critically injured in a helicopter crash in north west Sydney are being prepared to be airlifted to hospital. Helicopters will transport the seriously injured, who are all aged in their thirties, to nearby hospitals.

Dunno, if I just came down and was injured in a chopper crash I might prefer an alternative mode of transport.


D.K. Raed said...

when the US stopped tax deductibility for political donations, it had some unforeseen bad effects. what happened was akin to if charitable deductions were stopped, then a lot of people with spare income would stop giving to a non-deductible charity & find themselves a deductible cause. but they didn't stop charitable deducts, they are just limited to 10% of your income for deductibility (hmmm ... wonder which powerful senator had a hand in that, I'm thinking Orrin Hatch of Utah where the morms are expected to give 10% in church tithing).

I think we should've done the same thing for political deducts (i.e. put some kind of limit on the deductible part) because as it stands now, we are forced to endure constant big fundraisers & corporate shake-downs of employees. If the fund-raisers are a business (like lobbyists), they can deduct their fund-raising expenses, just like corporations can deduct the cost of "entertaining" their employees for a fund-raising event. So the the only thing that isn't deductible is the actual political contribution ... all those small donations from people who really didn't have the spare cash, but felt compelled to show loyalty at very visible corporate events.

I do applaud Rudd pushing to lower the $$$ limits and to ban certain types of donations. If he is successful in banning corporate donations, which I would hope includes lobbyists, then he will have done something considered impossible here in the U.S. Seems more & more than you got yourself a good one there, Cart.

D.K. Raed said...

"than" s/b "like" in previous last sentence! oh those pesky prepositions ...

abi said...

Limit political ads? Ban corporate donations? Wow, Cart, I think Rudd's been reading my MOP posts. How strong are these signals?

I hope you keep posting on this, Cart. This is pretty encouraging stuff.

Cart said...

abi, the threshold amendment has already been introduced to parliament. The conservatives still hold the majority in the Senate, so who knows... I suspect Rudd will get all the changes through this year.

d.k. I think we are onto something good, but a little bell still tingles in the back of the mind. Rudd is so impressive, in a very quiet way, it still seems unreal.
In the end it is up to us out here to keep the expectations pressure on.

TomCat said...

Cart, I think Rudd's ideas are step in the right direction, but it seems that no matter what campaign finance laws we put into effect here in the us, the political money brokers find loopholes around them. I prefer a system of 100% public financing, with media required, in return for the privilege of broadcasting, to provide equal time for political messages. Until the link between fund raising and electability is broken, lawmakers will represent the people who buy their jobs for them, not the voters who elect them.

Cart said...

Tom, I couldn't agree more. We have public funded and donations, like Canada. I'd prefer to see a flat public funded system with equally allocated media space.
But that doesn't stop the backhanders or the big money jobs after office. Even that they play with here with time limits on accepting the job preferments, but it should be blanket. Let people stand for election because they honestly believe in what they can achieve for the people.
Bloody hell, they get paid enough for the privilege.