Skip to Content

Leong, Shane

View Shane's Profile

  • Paper Title: Accountability of Corporate Political Donations and Database Regimes
  • Department Affiliation: Accounting and Corporate Governance
  • Supervisor’s Names:
    • Associate Professor Lorne Cummings,
    • Mr. James Hazelton
    • Doctor Cynthia Townley

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.

Keywords:

Accountability, database, political donations.