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Leong, Shane

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  • 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


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.


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.


The qualitative characteristics inherent in the IASB’s conceptual framework were selected as the basis on which to code the data.


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.


Accountability, database, political donations.