Four Corners - Dirty, Sexy Money
When sordid tales of sex and money and development deals spilled out of the Wollongong anti-corruption hearings, Labor luminaries dashed for cover. They rejected any stain of corruption and, if voters remained sceptical, vowed to reform political donations laws at federal and NSW level.
Four Corners looks at how politics can be poisoned when donors are seen as buying access and partiality from decision-makers. The line between making a no-strings donation and buying favour has become so trampled as to be almost invisible.
While donors' degree of access may depend on the size of their gift, a similar equation applies to MPs. The more money the MP can attract to party coffers, the better his or her career prospects. As Four Corners shows, there's also a risk of individual MPs becoming lobbyists for a patron developer, union or industry group.
Among givers and takers, political donations are mostly taboo as a topic of open discussion. But this report, Sarah Ferguson's first for Four Corners, features rare candour from some key players in the Wollongong scandal and higher up the food chain. It illustrates some of the notorious Wollongong events but goes further to examine subtler, more insidious pressures at work, away from Wollongong and dangerously far from the public's view.
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