The role of money in politics has been a concern internationally with strong calls for stricter regulation of such funds. In Australia, this has resulted in a shift from laissez-faire to increased regulation. Yet, there has been little research into the impact of this shift. To address this gap, this article examines the impact of four New South Wales political finance laws enacted from 2008 to 2012, which reflect the emergent regulatory approach. Focusing on the total number and value of political donations made to New South Wales political parties, it assesses the effects of the four Acts individually, as well as their overall impact, to test the assumption of legal effectiveness. It finds strong support for two key expectations resulting from the assumption: first, the raft of legislation will reduce the total number and value of political donations to the parties and second, that the 2010 legislation, which imposed caps on political donations and election spending, and substantially increased public funding, would be the most significant of the four Acts in terms of impact due to its scope and depth.
- Funding of political parties
- New South Wales political finance laws
- Political donations