How Christian Porter's decision erodes public trust

Christian Porter’s decision to accept an anonymous donation of one million dollars to help cover his personal legal costs has not merely raised questions about his personal judgement, it has exposed larger issues about the extent to which some of our government ministers understand the demands of political leadership in a democracy, according to ethics experts.

“Porter’s case raises important issues of principle; namely, whether or not politicians (of all political persuasions) should be allowed, in our democracy, to receive substantial amounts of money by way of anonymous donations," executive director of The Ethics Centre Dr Simon Longstaff explained.

"In this, the acid test is not what is convenient (or not) for politicians and their supporters. Rather, the only consideration should be in relation to what supports, or undermines, the quality of our democracy.

“The COVID19 pandemic has been the most significant threat to Australia in the past 50 years … we need to believe that our politicians will act solely in the public interest and that if, for some reason, they do not, then they will be held to account with at least the same degree of rigour that applies to the rest of us.”

However, leaders should not wait until a time of crisis to demonstrate their integrity. 

“Every decision – including those that do not ‘seem to matter’ – builds (or undermines) the ethical capital upon which politicians must draw at times such as these.”

Would Australia be better off if political parties were banned from accepting large political donations?


I remember many years ago when Paul Keating was elected Prime Minister. I always like him and decided to send him a gift for which he was very grateful.   We received a letter asking how much the gift was valued at as all gifts had to be itemised and accounted for.  So how can Christian Porter say it was from a "mystery donor". Looks like one rule for us and one rule for them. 

LOL! Hola

Trying to bribe  PM Keating ????

I am just hoping the mystery donor is NOT the Taxpayer

Why have we not heard who paid for Gladys Berejiklian's boyfriend Barrister Amos


Political donations can definitely lead to a level of, what can only be described as, corruption. The current system is wide open to that and the reluctance of politicians to tighten the rules does make one wonder. There is no such thing as a gift to a politician that does not expect a return. The old saying that "there is ought for nought in this world" rings true.

Personally I believe that political donations, up to a certain amount, are acceptable provided they are declared immediately and published in the mass media. If political advertising had to be provided free of charge by print, radio and TV that would reduce the need for political donations.

One thing that does need to be done is that political advertising must be legislated to be factual, truthful and honest. The fact that it is not says an awful lot about the state of politics in our country. That word corrupt tends to suggest itself  and I certainly wouldn't go so far as to say it is but readers can make up their own minds on that. 


Hi, True Tank, that comment "there is ought for nought in this world"

Has another Yorkshire comment; "If thou ought do out for nought do it for thee-sen"

I think donors are donating for them-sen,

Tom Tank, I totally agree with you on all points. We don't need such expensive election campaigns, most of the advertising is distorted rubbish and probably of limited effect. I would question whether our system even qualifies as democratic when the people are forced to vote for parties which then govern for the benefit of paying, vested interests be they business or unions.

Political donations should be made public. As it stands any donation under $13,800 does not need to be disclosed. That figure can be rorted in any number of ways so all donations should be made public even if that is cumbersome. As regards donations creating a possible payback, it has always been of interest that unions can support the preselection of a candidate which invariably leads to their candidate being elected. That candidate is also breaking the law as he/she must join that union as a condition of preselection. Compulsory unionism is against the law. Last time we had a Labor government, $27M was granted to unions for education and training. The amounts granted were about the same amounts as were spent by unions in political advertising leading up to the 2007 election.

Political donations should be made public.

Yes ... whatever the amount with the source fully disclosed. 

Who controls the money donated to the parties? I believe all parties should have an "Independent Legal Person" to make sure ALL donations are made public with the Dollars and the Person or Company involved.  End of story!!

Unfortunately if we didn't have political donations the only people that would get into power would be those that can afford to buy their way in, and it applies to people from all sides of politics. I don't know if it's possible but maybe the amount spent on advertising should be legislated so that no person would be allowed to spend more than any other candidate, the amount would have to be reasonably low to allow any of us to stand. Which political party would support such a proposal, I think we all know the answer.

One fly in that ointment Jim: unions. They are not a political party and according to Labor there about 2,000,000 members so if they pay fees of even $10pw that gives the unions $20M a week to spend. They can run advertisements to their heart's content with no limits, no fact checks and I think they may only support one side.


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