The ACT Government has banned donations from property developers to political parties and candidates in the ACT in a bid to reduce the risk of corrupt conduct in the electoral system from mid next year.
Under the changes, it will be an offence for property developers and their close associates to give gifts to political parties and candidates, and an offence for political entities to accept them.
ACT Attorney-General Gordon Ramsay said the changes would lower the risk of corrupt conduct and perceived corrupt conduct in local elections.
“Property developers depend heavily on decisions made by government about land development applications and other processes,” he said.
“There is a strong public interest in reducing the prospect of planning decisions being influenced by political donations.”
The legislation will come into effect from 1 July 2021, which means the new changes won’t have taken effect by the time the ACT heads to the polls for the next Territory election later this year on 17 October.
“By addressing the recognised risk of undue influence from the property development industry, this ban supports our community, giving everyone the opportunity to participate equally in the political system,” Mr Ramsay said.
“The Government will continue to work with the ACT Electoral Commission to ensure our elections are fair, inclusive and transparent.”
As well as donations from property developers, the changes also require that any gift to a political party over $1,000 must be disclosed to the Electoral Commission with seven days.
The Legislative Assembly also passed truth in political advertising laws last night (27 August) with tri-partisan support.