I have written to the Australian Electoral Commission asking it to investigate 40 groups set up almost exclusively in electorates represented by the Government.
In a democracy like Australia, it is critical that people can find out who is behind candidates for public office and where their funding is sourced.
We have laws to ensure these disclosures are made to electors. I am concerned these laws are not being followed. The ‘Voices of…’ or ‘Voices for…’ groups maintain a veneer of being unaligned community groups but are unmistakably political: they intend to unseat Government MPs at the next election.
Unlike proclaimed political groups, ‘Voices of…’ are not held to the same standards of transparency. Under electoral laws websites, social media and other material needs to carry a message of authorisation, but many of these groups fail to do that.
Some have donation portals which have raised tens of thousands of dollars but their donors, many of whom remain completely anonymous, and aren’t forced to disclose whether they are foreigners. The AEC needs to investigate whether these groups are being transparent with their funding.
The groups need to provide disclosures to the AEC if their expenditure exceeds the disclosure threshold.
Australians deserve to know who candidates for federal office are and exactly who is funding them. Our laws demand it and they must be enforced.
Charlotte Mortlock: 0401 392 624