'Secret payments': Mayor questions new rule for donations

A BAN of developer donations could result in secret and third-party donations to political candidates, Mayor Andrew Antoniolli has warned.

This week, the premier re-introduced legislation to ban donations from developers to state and local government candidates following a recommendation in the Crime and Corruption Commission's Operation Belcarra report.

Cr Antoniolli has concerns about the ban on developer donations, declaring it could reduce transparency.

He questioned: "The minute you start introducing a ban on certain industries, where do you stop?"

Cr Antoniolli feared the ban on developer donations could facilitate secret or donations through third parties.

"It potentially removes transparency," he said.

"Do you include the whole construction industry?

"Where do you draw the line."

Cr Antoniolli said he made a "conscious decision" during last year's mayoral by-election to reduce the amount of money from developers.

"Ultimately, people got to see who supported me and how much they gave," he said.

"I've got friends in many many different industries and not one of them who have contributed or supported me would suggest in any shape or form that I've gone out of my way to give them special treatment."

Political expert Paul Williams called for the State Government to expand the ban on developer donations and declared the alcohol and gaming industry should also be barred from splashing cash.

Mr Williams, a Griffith University School of Humanities senior lecturer, said it was "one of those industries that might be vulnerable to untoward behaviour".

"Voters want transparent donation laws, there's no doubt about that," he said.

"They want their elections clean and candidates accountable."

Mr Williams said the council's ability to zone and de-zone land could facilitate grey interactions.

"It's appropriate we have very strong oversights about how developers engage with politicians," he said.

Mr Williams called for the ban to be extended to the alcohol and gaming industry, which he said; "has long attempted to exert strong power over government positions".


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