The Labor leader supports banning political donations from overseas, but warns the Australian people are not yet ready to foot the bill for election campaigns.
Opposition leader Bill Shorten has hosed down a proposal from his Labor colleague Sam Dastyari to ban all donations to political parties.
Mr Shorten said he welcomed Senator Dastyari “putting forward arguments”, but said he did not support a ban on political donations from Australian companies and individuals.
“When it comes to donations, I don't think the taxpayer is ready to foot the bill for all political expenses in Australia, so I still think there is a role for donations,” Mr Shorten told the ABC on Monday morning.
“But what I don't think there is a role for is foreign donations.”
Both Labor and the Coalition have suggested a ban on foreign donations, but no legislation has been passed.
Senator Sam Dastyari resigned from Labor’s front bench over a Chinese foreign donations scandal in September.
The senator told the ABC’s Australian Story he knew all too well why donations should be banned, describing himself as a “weapons supplier” in the “arms race”.
Senator Dastyari was once the general secretary of the NSW Labor party, from 2010 to 2013, where he was responsible for the party’s fundraising activities in the state.
Mr Shorten said both major parties should forge ahead with a “gentleman’s agreement” to refuse foreign donations in the lead-up to the next federal election, even if there is no law in place.
He said he has already instructed the federal Labor party not to accept any foreign money, effective immediately, putting the party at an “electoral disadvantage” until the Coalition agrees to do the same.
“We don’t even have to wait for the law to be changed,” he said.