Recent controversies in Australia have prompted a push to ban foreign political donations. The presentation cautions against this by casting doubt on the main rationale for such a ban - that ‘foreigners’ are not members of the nation’s political community, and therefore are not entitled to influence its political process, including through political donations. It will also be argued that the ‘foreignness’ of corporate political donations does not pose any additional danger to democracy unless the corporation is an agent for a foreign government. While there is just cause for banning political donations from foreign governments and those being sourced from overseas, any further measures in relation to ‘foreign’ political donations should be approached cautiously. Rather than focus on the ‘foreignness’ of the political donations, the underlying risks stem more from the ‘corporateness’ of these donations, pointing to general measures to deal with large political donations rather than specific regulation of ‘foreign’ political donations.
This presentation is based on a forthcoming article in King’s Law Journal.