Victorian Labor buys support from minor parties with $45 million taxpayer-funded bribe

June 28, 2018

The proposed taxpayer-funded bonanza for political minnows in Victoria will begin to flow as soon as August 1 if Labor's political funding reform legislation passes Parliament, as expected, next month.

Conservative Party leader Cory Bernardi says his party opposes the funding and doesn’t think taxpayers should be footing the bill.

The Age reports, the Andrews Labor government came desperately close to passing its legislation, which it says will take big corporate and union money out of Victorian state politics, in a late night sitting on Friday after making big concessions to the minor parties to get their support.

But the offer of the big paydays for the minors came late in the piece through a government amendment to its own bill.

The government says the payments would create a "level playing field" for the smaller parties up against the better-funded bigger outfits.

Under the new regime, Victorian taxpayers would spend $45 million funding political campaigning every four years but in return are promised the nation’s “toughest” regime on money in politics.

The legislation will increase “administration expenditure funding” to smaller parties and independents.

This is worth $250,000 a year to independents and parties that get one MP elected. A party gets an extra $40,000 a year for each extra MP elected, up to a cap of 45 MPs.

Senator Bernardi has told Paul Murray Live on Sky News the funding is unnecessary and effectively a bribe to get minor parties and independents to support the bill.

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