Most of the arguments for political donations disclosure are process-oriented, but this issue needs to be put in a broader theory of good government. That a CEO may buy dinner with a Minister at a party fundraiser is of no consequence unless some kind of bad decision – eg one that favours the CEO’s company when there is no strong public policy case for doing so – flows from it.
However, the best evidence for such bad decisions is not the annual political donations disclosure but the spending announcements of the government. Why use a proxy when you can use the real thing?
As I have been noting recently, the people calling for greater donations disclosure are strangely uninterested in the public policy bad they are ostensibly trying to prevent. So I have decided to do their job for them and keep note of corporate pork on my blog. On the recent history of the Rudd government this may become a rather time-consuming task. I’ll start with the stories in today’s media and over time try to fill in the gaps from earlier decisions. A listing does not mean that the decision is an entirely bad one (though I suspect the bulk of them are bad).
4 February, 2009
Makers and installers of insulation get $3.7 billion boost. (Expect high inflation in this sector.)
Construction industry wins with big ‘social housing’ construction plan. Social housing is the euphemism for public housing – just about the only housing stock in Australia that creates anti-social environments. Age article notes that ‘the scheme is designed to suit private builders, many of whom have been left with approved building plans that they cannot start without buyers.’