Accountability via central database regimes in the context of NSW political donations

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Purpose: We examine the extent to which the NSW political finance disclosure regime promotes accountability in order to both improve this case as well as understand how accountability might be realised through a central database regime (CDR). A CDR is system in which organizations report information to a central agency, which then ensures that the information is accessible in a publically-available database. This paper also outlines the benefits and limitations of using CDRs as accountability mechanisms. Design/Methodology: A framework for assessing accountability is derived from John Dryzek’s discursive democracy and then applied to the NSW disclosure regime through an analysis of submissions to a recent Parliamentary Inquiry. Findings: Our analysis of the data is not yet complete. However our initial observations are that the potential of this particular CDR to enhance accountability is not realised. We suggest that CDRs have the potential to significantly enhance accountability relative to TBL reports, primarily by collecting and presenting information at the level most relevant to the issue at hand, which is often not that of the organisation. For stakeholders with an interest in organisation-level performance, however, TBL reports may still perform an important accountability role. Originality/Value: Few prior studies have considered disclosures in relation to political donations or the relative merits of disclosures in databases versus TBL reports. We also develop a framework for accountability derived from the recent work of political theorist John Dryzek.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationConference proceedings
Subtitle of host publicationSixth Asia Pacific Interdisciplinary Research in Accounting Conference
Place of PublicationSydney
PublisherUniversity of Sydney
Number of pages39
Publication statusPublished - 2010
EventAsia Pacific Interdisciplinary Research in Accounting Conference (6th : 2010) - Sydney
Duration: 11 Jul 201013 Jul 2010


ConferenceAsia Pacific Interdisciplinary Research in Accounting Conference (6th : 2010)


  • political donations
  • databases
  • triple bottom line reporting


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