The Potential of central database regimes to enhance corporate political donation accountability

Research output: Contribution to journalMeeting abstract


Purpose: A central database regime (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 project ascertains the benefits and limitations of using CDRs as accountability mechanisms in the context of corporate political donations. Originality: Dryzek’s discursive democracy is used in an original way to explore an alternative mechanism for corporate accountability than triple-bottom line reports. Further, whilst prior research has looked at what organisations report, this project tackles the question of how they should be reporting. Theoretical Perspective and Methodology: The first paper uses Goodin’s utilitarianism to assess how to minimise the risks associated with corporate political donations and the role disclosure plays in risk mitigation. Papers two and three use a framework primarily derived from Dryzek’s discursive democracy to assess the benefits and limitations of the Australian Federal and NSW political finance disclosure systems. Findings: CDRs can enhance accountability by providing a systems-level picture of political donations. Database tools can, for example, enable users to determine the percentage of party funds which came from a single donor/industry. However, they are less useful for presenting an international corporation’s donation policy. Limitation: Data was gathered from Parliamentary inquiry submissions, which tend to skewed towards providing negative commentary. 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)51-52
Number of pages2
JournalExpo 2010 Higher Degree Research : book of abstracts
Publication statusPublished - 2010
EventHigher Degree Research Expo (6th : 2010) - Sydney
Duration: 19 Nov 201019 Nov 2010

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