The PM is having an impressive temper tantrum and having failed to defend her party’s behaviour, she is now resorting to classic FUD tactics of claiming everyone is as bad. Specifically she is labelling National corrupt for accepting anonymous donations.
Now I am almost embarassed that I have to spell this out in small words, but just in case anyone is confused, here it is.
Anonymous donations are deliberately allowed for under the Electoral Act. This is not some rorting of the Act, but something long-standing and known. Labour have been in power since 1999 and has amended the Electoral Act half a dozen times since then. They have deliberately decided to keep anoymous donations legal.
Why? Well Labour themselves receive hundreds of thousands of dollars in anonymous donations.
So when the PM claims National receiving anonymous donations is somehow wrong or corrupt, the question that should be asked back to the PM is:
“Well Prime Minister, is it your contention that anonymous donations are corrupt only when made to National, but are fine when made to Labour”
“Well Prime Minister, is it your contention that anonymous donations are corrupt only when another party gets more of them than Labour does”
Yes this is how weak her position is.
The issue of whether or not they should be allowed is something reasonable people can disagree about. Personally I favour them on balance because it means that MPs don’t get to know who major donors are, and hence can’t be suspected of “favours”. But if the law is changed to not allow them, then it’s not that major a deal.
Of course the PM is desperate for everyone to start debating legal anonymous donations rather than her latest outraagous proposal to avoid paying back the $800,000 (if the AG confirms it in his final report).
Rather than have the MPs pay back the money which is deemed illegally spent on their behalf, they are now proposing to merely under-spend their budget the following year. Now if spending was illegal, it is illegal. Underspending you legal budget does not change the fact that taxpayer money was spent on an illegal activity and should be refunded by those who benefited illegally from it.
This is of course all subject to the final Auditor-General report. And again the PM is not being subtle. I heard her yesterday saying that she expects the Auditor-General to recommend validating legislation, claiming this is what he normally does in these instances. If the AG does not follow the PM’s “advice” I suspect he will be very out of favour.