The weak case for a $1,000 political donation disclosure threshold

Reflecting the current orthodoxy on campaign finance policy, the Age yesterday editorialised in favour of the threshold for political donations disclosure being lowered from $11,500 to $1,000.

Despite the popularity of the $1,000 figure, I have never seen any real argument as to why that number is the right one. The Age said this:

For as long as this situation has been allowed to continue, and various donors are – for whatever reasons – free to conceal themselves from public scrutiny, democracy is under threat. Voters must be confident that political donations are not synonymous with covertly buying influence.

But could $11,500 plausibly buy influence? In 2010-11, a donation of that much was 0.000012% of the ALP’s income. I won’t strain your eyes any further by making you count how many decimal places would be needed to calculate a $5,000 or $2,000 donation as a percentage of the ALP’s total income. And the numbers would be even lower for the Liberals, who raised more money than Labor in 2010-11. The parties have incomes that are large enough, and diversified enough, for a single donor at this level not to be important.Read More »

Crikey group subscription

If you want to get Crikey, but don’t want to pay full price, Nick Gruen does an annual service in organising a group subscription. Details here, cross-posted from Club Troppo:

It’s on again folks. Crikey subscribers on the group subscription I organise have begun getting presubscription emails. Whether you are a subscriber already or not, you can subscribe through this means and qualify for the discounts Crikey offer.

Prices keep rising, and they’ve risen again this year. Here’s the schedule.

If you want to join the subscription, please email me on





you know the rest.

Then in a few weeks from now I’ll shoot a list of names and email addresses to Crikey and they’ll follow up.

Group Subscriptions

3-5 Members – $125

6-9 Members – $115

10-19 Members – $105

20-49 Members – $95

50+ Members – $85