Monday, 1 September 2014

Candidate in Labor's Ballina community preselection pledges to reject political donations from gas industry, science deniers, unethical companies & banks

Keith Williams Media Release 29 August 2014:

Keith Williams, candidate in Labor's Ballina community preselection, has announced self-imposed rules on donations and fundraising to address what he calls the disturbing influence of money in politics.

In what he claims is an Australian first, Mr Williams has published a campaign budget, excluded a wide range of potential donors and limited the maximum donation he will accept to $500 per person.

"We must end this preoccupation with raising funds so we can outspend our political opponents. It's a cancer. Instead of being a contest of ideas, politics is reduced to a battle of marketing budgets."

He said the continuing revelations of the Independent Commission Against Corruption had made him stop and think before deciding to put his hand up for preselection. "Did I really want to enter a world where your ability to raise funds is seemingly more important than your contribution to public debate? I decided I would, but on my terms."

Mr Williams says publishing his Ethics Policy before commencing fundraising was an important first step. "It's about taking personal responsibility and saying I won't be a part of that system."

"I'm not so naive as to think I can campaign without funds, so I have set clear rules around what I believe is acceptable." 

"I don't believe anyone should be running for public office and accepting donations from a business or person that could benefit from their influence.  Voters need to know that you are beholden to them and them alone."

"My own sense of ethics also tells me that I don't want to accept donations from those that abuse vulnerable people, cause ill-health or environmental destruction, lie or cheat. Defining what I meant by that was probably the hardest part of the whole process"

Mr Williams believes people are heartily sick of seeing politicians quote the law when challenged about their behaviour. He cites the recent example of Joe Hockey claiming $270 a night in expenses to stay in a Canberra house owned by his wife. "It may be legal, but it certainly isn't ethical."

"There are a lot of things I'd like to achieve in politics.  Better care for those with mental illness, ridding our ocean of plastic and creating sustainable jobs in this community are just a few of the things on my list. But unless we insist on higher ethical standards in politics we will be fighting the carpetbaggers and rent seekers every step of the way."

"The advantage of community preselections, such as this one for Ballina, is that is gives candidates an opportunity to talk about issues like ethics, without the usual "he said, she said" of party political debate. 

"This is an exciting time to be a member of the Labor Party. Things are changing. You can feel it. I'm proud to be a part of that change."

Voting in the Ballina preselection opens on Monday.


I am standing for election because I want to change what is happening to politics in Australia.
Ethics is not about the Law. It's about personal responsibility and values.
These are my ethics and values.

Ethical Conduct Policy

This policy outlines my personal commitment to electors.  It will govern the conduct of my campaign for Labor Party Preselection and, if successful, as the Labor Party Candidate for the state seat of Ballina. It is also my commitment to electors if I am bestowed the honour of representing the electorate in Parliament.

My Pledge

I shall at all times act with honesty and integrity.
I will do no favours nor accept any gifts that may create a future obligation.
I shall speak out against corruption. I will remember, "The standard you walk past, is the standard you accept".  I will not remain silent, regardless of who it is.
I will respect my community. I will work with the community and its representatives to develop practical solutions to the problems we face.
I will respect community choices. Ballina and Byron (and our many other towns) are different communities and have different needs and priorities. I will remember that we don't all want the same thing.
I will conduct myself politely and with consideration for others at all times.

My Commitments

To ensure a transparent approach to all fundraising activities.
To comply with all electoral funding law requirements.
To comply with all Labor Party Rules regarding fundraising.
To provide certainty to electors that their representative is beholden to them and them alone.
To enable sufficient funds to be raised to inform electors of the principles, values and policies I represent.
To run an election campaign that focuses on ideas to improve our community, meet the needs of the vulnerable, ensure that good quality health and education are available to all, create employment and protect our environment.

My Rules

In addition to any and all other NSW legal requirements* the campaign will:
  • Not accept donations greater than $500 in any one instance or from one individual in total. 
  • Not accept donations from any company or associated persons that are reliant on a Government (Local, State or Federal) Lease or Licence for its primary business operation.
    • Eg. Mining & Petroleum, Banks, Operators of Utilities (power & water), Commercial Fishers, Forestry, Licensed tourism operators in Public Spaces (National Parks), etc.
  • Not accept donations from any company or associated persons that are engaged in unethical conduct that contributes to:
    • The inhumane treatment of vulnerable people,
    • Human ill health and suffering,
    • Destruction or pollution of the habitat of threatened species,
    • The denial of science and basic fact, or
    • Other misleading or deceptive conduct.
*Developers, Gambling & Tobacco interests are already excluded.  Other suggested exclusions are welcome. 
Any amounts received in excess of the above limits or that can not be verified as complying with the above exclusions will be forwarded to the Ballina Branch of St Vincent De Paul to use at their discretion to assist people experiencing homelessness.

My Campaign 

The campaign will focus on the issues and ideas relevant to our community. No resources will be directed towards negative advertising targeting political opponents.
The total Preselection Campaign budget is $4,000 comprising;
Printed materials, including flyers $1000
Community Radio Sponsorships $800
Ads in local newspapers $800
Signage     $500
Volunteer supplies  $500
Venue hire    $400
This budget will be subject to change.  An up to date version of the budget will be maintained on the Ethics Page on my website at
This Policy is open for comment and revision. If I have missed something, please let me know via email at: 

Keith Williams
Ballina Community Preselection
Australian Labor Party

No comments: