Who pays for democracy?

Modern democracy is an expensive business. Obama and Romney apparently spent one billion dollars between them, and the entire election cost six billion (scale that back for population and that is the equivalent of spending around $70 million in Australia on a federal election campaign).

In Australia elections are partly funded by donations and partly by taxpayers. The details vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction and at the moment the Queensland government is conducting an inquiry into funding political parties.

So this week our survey looked at some of the permutations and combinations of how political parties can be funded.

Public funding is widely accepted, but more on the left than the right.

Australian political parties are partially-funded by government through public funding. How strongly do you agree or disagree that political parties ought to receive this funding?

Public_Funding

BKAP

Grn

ALP

LNP

Total

Strongly agree

10%

57%

49%

18%

32%

Agree

24%

30%

27%

29%

27%

Neither agree nor disagree

14%

2%

10%

16%

11%

Disagree

10%

10%

5%

16%

12%

Strongly disagree

43%

0%

5%

18%

16%

Unsure

0%

2%

3%

2%

3%

Grand Total

100%

100%

100%

100%

100%

Total agree

33%

87%

77%

47%

59%

Total disagree

52%

10%

11%

35%

27%

Net agree

-19%

77%

66%

12%

32%

There is overwhelming support from Greens and ALP, but only qualified support from LNP supporters. Katter supporters are opposed, but their numbers are small, so the result is not as reliable as the others.

We then asked about individual donations. Now it was LNP supporters who were most heavily in favour with Katter and Greens supporters just behind and Labor voters most equivocal, although still in favour.

Australian political parties are partially funded by donations from individuals. How strongly do you agree or disagree that political parties ought to be able to receive this funding?

Individual_Donations

BKAP

Grn

ALP

LNP

Total

Strongly agree

19%

18%

19%

41%

29%

Agree

38%

42%

33%

36%

38%

Neither agree nor disagree

19%

6%

14%

10%

11%

Disagree

5%

11%

10%

9%

9%

Strongly disagree

19%

21%

25%

4%

14%

Unsure

0%

2%

0%

0%

0%

Grand Total

100%

100%

100%

100%

100%

Total agree

57%

60%

52%

77%

66%

Total disagree

24%

32%

34%

13%

23%

Net agree

33%

27%

18%

64%

44%

A large proportion of donations to the major parties comes from corporate donors. This was the first area in which we received net negative scores with Greens and ALP supporters opposed to this idea.

Australian political parties are partially funded by donations from businesses. How strongly do you agree or disagree that political parties ought to be able to receive this funding?

Corporate_Donations

BKAP

Grn

ALP

LNP

Total

Strongly agree

14%

6%

11%

23%

14%

Agree

33%

18%

34%

37%

33%

Neither agree nor disagree

14%

6%

8%

17%

13%

Disagree

5%

21%

18%

14%

15%

Strongly disagree

33%

45%

29%

8%

24%

Unsure

0%

3%

0%

2%

2%

Grand Total

100%

100%

100%

100%

100%

Total agree

48%

24%

45%

60%

47%

Total disagree

38%

66%

47%

21%

38%

Net agree

10%

-42%

-1%

38%

9%

The last question we asked was with respect to donations from third parties, where we specifically named trade unions.

Australian political parties are partially funded by donations from organisations such as trade unions. How strongly do you agree or disagree that political parties ought to be able to receive this funding?

Trade_Unions

BKAP

Grn

ALP

LNP

Total

Strongly agree

10%

6%

21%

10%

11%

Agree

19%

32%

37%

20%

26%

Neither agree nor disagree

10%

16%

11%

10%

11%

Disagree

19%

13%

12%

15%

14%

Strongly disagree

38%

29%

18%

44%

35%

Unsure

5%

3%

1%

1%

2%

Grand Total

100%

100%

100%

100%

100%

Total agree

29%

39%

58%

29%

37%

Total disagree

57%

42%

30%

59%

49%

Net agree

-29%

-3%

27%

-29%

-12%

The LNP/ALP split is more or less predictable, but I didn't quite foresee that Greens would be on balance opposed. The BKAP position is also interesting given the assumption that they represent working class conservatives who are more likely to be unionised than the general population. Again, a small sample size, but it is possible that this response represents some resistance to unions donating funds to causes that individual members do not support.

 

 

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Comments   

 
+1 #1 election costs solutionsval yule 2012-11-20 07:14
home.vicnet.net.au/.../... gives solutions for more democratic elections.
We cannot afford all the present associated costs
 
 
+5 #2 Cheap SolutionBrent 2012-11-20 12:34
The technology already exists in every town and suburb of Australia to instantly count data entered by members of the public. They are called TAB's.
produce ID
Mark off the ticket
Pop it in the machine
At 6.01 a result can be given with far fewer staff and in far less time

If you like you could also have a wager on the outcome :)
 
 
+1 #3 RE: Who pays for democracy?Alan Stewart 2012-12-03 17:07
I think your maths are a bit suspect--'scale that back for population'. The USA has about 14 times the population of Oz.How much do you count as a billion? I hope your surveys are more accurate.
 
 
+1 #4 RE: Who pays for democracy?Lorikeet 2012-12-03 20:44
I think the results should include all respondents' answers. :cry:
 
 
0 #5 mrMartin Trama 2013-02-20 14:39
:zzz Wake up Australia,US is corrupted by BIG MONEY and lobbyists.For the sake of a truely democratic process all funding should be from taxpayers to eradicate the tainted vote.Nobody hands out thousands without an agenda.