Accountability of corporate political donations and database regimes

Research output: Contribution to journalMeeting abstract


Purpose: Political finance information is most often presented using a central database regime (CDR), being a system in which organizations report information to a central agency that is then made publically available via a database. I am studying the Australian Federal political finance regime to understand the extent to which it contributes to accountability. Originality: Whilst prior research has looked at what organisations report, this project explores the question of how they should report. Key literature/Theoretical Perspective and Methodology: Content analysis was used to analyse 50 submissions to the Australian Government’s 2008 Electoral Reform Green Paper titled Donations, Funding and Expenditure. Design/Methodology/approach: The qualitative characteristics inherent in the IASB’s conceptual framework were selected as the basis on which to code the data. Findings: CDRs can enhance accountability by providing a systems-level picture of political donations through the use of database searching and sorting tools. However, numerous concerns were raised by the submission-writers, including that: many donors do not produce returns; disclosure obligations may fall on unintended people, costing them time and money; and, the term ‘associated entity’ is not appropriately defined. Research limitation: Data was gathered from Parliamentary inquiry submissions, which skewed towards the provision of negative commentary. Practical and Social Implications: Corporate accountability for political donations – as well as other issues – might be enhanced by requiring disclosure in both CDRs and TBL reports. Enhancing accountability is not just a matter of improving disclosure, but also enabling disclosure to contribute to public deliberation.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)58-59
Number of pages2
JournalExpo 2011 Higher Degree Research : book of abstracts
Publication statusPublished - 2011
EventHigher Degree Research Expo (7th : 2011) - Sydney
Duration: 10 Oct 201111 Oct 2011


  • accountability
  • database
  • political donations

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