The controversial foreign donations bill is “unconstitutional” and there is a “reasonable likelihood” it will be struck down by the High Court, a constitutional law expert has told the parliamentary electoral matters committee.
In a public hearing in Canberra on Friday, Professor Anne Twomey, a professor of constitutional law from the University of Sydney, told the inquiry the proposed law was “extraordinarily badly drafted” and does not “achieve its purpose”.
The Election Funding and Disclosure Reform Bill, which aims to ban foreign donations and requires registration and disclosure requirements for a broader group of non-party political actors than is currently the case, was referred to the Joint Standing Committee on Electoral Matters by Minister for Finance Mathias Cormann on 6 December.
According to the federal government the bill is necessary to block donations by foreign entities attempting to influence Australian electoral outcomes.
However, the bill has come under fire from many in the charity sector with fears it could have a “chilling effect” on advocacy and impose an onerous level of red-tape on charities.
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