Comedian Robin Williams used to say that politicians should just wear sponsor jackets like Nascar drivers, so we know who owns them.
And you know what?
I reckon he was on to something.
Donors give to both sides so that both sides will treat them with kid gloves, and do what's best for the donor instead of what's best for the people.
And it works.
Politicians at every level of government, in every state and territory, are being paid by donors. Some states are just worse than others in hiding how widespread it is.
The last Tasmanian election saw some dodgy donations, which we'll never truly know about because our donation laws are the weakest in the country.
So if our pollies were to wear sponsor jackets, what would they wear?
Maybe it would be a Crown Resorts logo, who donated to both major parties, and then they both voted to block an inquiry into corruption allegations over Crown Casino.
Perhaps the Coalition and Labor would feel the need to wear a fossil fuel company logo, after receiving $1.8million in donations.
The Tassie Liberals might have matching denim jackets with the Australian Hospitality Association.
Tasmania Labor would just have the CFMEU logo tattoo.
And that's just the donors we know of.
In 2018-19, the Tasmanian Liberal Government received about $3.4million in donations.
We don't know where almost $2.6million of that came from. Why do they think Tasmanians don't have the right to know?
Tasmanian Labor is just as bad. Almost 94 per cent of donations given to them in 2018-19 are from "unknown sources".
They say that it's unknown anyway - they know who gave it to them, they just don't want the rest of us to know.
At what point does this money go from a 'friendly donation' to a donation which influences major laws?
You can't say for sure that there is a direct line between money and a vote - but there sure are a lot of shady coincidences. At the end of the day, we want transparency.
We want to trust that major parties are making decisions for the people, not for those who line their pockets.
I'm trying to change political donation laws in Canberra so that the public know what 'sponsor jacket' the major parties are wearing.
Tasmania should do the same.
- Jacqui Lambie is a Tasmanian Jacqui Lambie Network senator.