One argument for stricter disclosure and control of political donations is to improve public perceptions of the political process. A NSW Parliament report from earlier this year said:
In evidence to this inquiry, the need for reform to restore public confidence in the integrity of the system was recognised by most of the political parties that are currently represented in the New South Wales Parliament…
It’s never been clear to me whether the disclosure regime would increase or decrease public confidence.
The general knowledge that it exists may increase confidence. On the other had, almost every specific mention of a donation is used to impugn donor and decision-maker alike. This could decrease confidence by providing more news hooks for negative stories about how politicians may favour donors.
However an analysis of political integrity questions asked by pollsters suggests that public confidence has generally been increasing over time. Continue reading “Do political donations disclosures increase or decrease confidence in the the political process?”