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Aug 14, 2012

LNP in ugly brawl with it's own executive

When the ALP in Queensland was in it’s death spiral and short of funds it introduced a scheme for public funding of the administration of political parties. The idea was, that instead of having to do their own fundraising and rely on popular support, the costs of running the organization of a major party would be met by taxpayers. The LNP swore it would repeal this legislation as soon as it achieved power.

Now in government, Campbell Newman has to his credit, belatedly started the process of wiping it. This in turn has caused angst in the party executive who have in the last year, become addicted to taxpayer funding. This has now erupted into a full scale brawl:

Sources from the parties last night confirmed LNP officials last week proposed a press conference with Labor for this week to demand the Newman government reverse its decision to dump "administration" funding for political parties, which has cost the LNP more than $2 million this year.

LNP and Labor officials yesterday refused to comment on the press conference, which was rejected by Labor, but Mr Palmer last night endorsed the proposal. "I can't confirm that was being proposed, but I do think it is the sort of issue that should involve bipartisan opposition from all parties," he said.

A paper on public funding of parties is now being drafted by Newman government Attorney-General Jarrod Bleijie and is expected to include proposals that require parties to spend a set amount of money in each seat it contests during an election.
The preparation of a ‘paper on public funding of parties’ appears to fly in the face of the stated aim. While it undoubtedly suits party bosses to keep their snouts firmly planted in the public trough for funding rather than have to rely on the support of the population at large, they should be required to support themselves by honest means like the rest of us.

The requirements for such funding discriminate against minor parties for a start, and any requirement that parties spend a set amount of money in each seat it contests during an election is designed to make our lives impossible. It is difficult as it stands to run a shoe-string campaign largely funded through the candidate’s own resources without being required to spend a set amount arbitrarily chosen by major parties who have the advantage of being firmly attached to the public nipple.

It is an extraordinarily corrupt act for a political party in power to divert public money to its own purposes, and it no less corrupt for the next party in power to allow this to continue. Current reports indicate that the LNP receives over $2 million per year, Labor $580,000, Katter’s Party $166,000, as well as substantial amounts to the two independents. These funds are in addition to the millions received by these parties in state funding of their election campaigns.

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