The Coalition was quick to get to work after the election. Not to reconnect with disillusioned voters, but rather to begin softening the ground to break promises they took to the election. I am not even sure if I am disappointed that the promised plebiscite seems to be drifting further and further into the future. But I am concerned at how strenuously government MPs have been making the case to backtrack on proposed changes to superannuation.
I am actually pretty comfortable with the knowledge that governments sometimes change policies in the face of new information or overwhelming public sentiment (and if Malcolm, is reading this, his party has plenty of bad policies I would be happy to see him backflip on). But the effect on donations to the party coffers is a pretty poor reason to backflip.
In the last month a number of Liberal MPs and senators such as Ian Goodenough and that bastion of common sense, Eric Abetz, have bemoaned the impact of the proposed superannuation changes on the election campaign. The kay factor here is they didn’t seem that concerned that the policy was widely unpopular (probably because it was broadly supported), but seemed more concerned about the impact on political donations.
Here is a quote from Queensland senator Ian MacDonald:
“It [superannuation] also severely impacted our fundraising because most of those affected and even those who weren’t affected but were concerned that they might have been were traditionally our supporters and very often our very good donors.”
When party members are denouncing a policy because it reduced the level of political donations, the corollary here is that political donations are having a direct influence on government policy. (despite what successive governments have tried to pretend). That sounds a lot like bribery and corruption- a whole lot like it.
The political donations process is shady at best (Charlie Pickering explains just how shady in this short video), which means we really don’t know where a large proportion of political donations come from. But we do know from the government’s conniptions over superannuation that these secretive donations influence policy. Consider our scientifically backwards climate policies in light of that last sentence.
It ought to worry you.