Nil by donations
An Australian electoral funding bill could prevent medical research institutes from receiving donations and speaking out about important health issues, an industry body has warned. Tony Cunningham (pictured), president of the Association of Australian Medical Research Institutes, said that the new Electoral Funding and Disclosure Reform Bill could result in charities, including medical research institutes, being labelled “political campaigners”. This is because three key terms in the bill – political expenditure, political purpose and public expression – would “unreasonably” define a wide range of apolitical policy development activity as “political campaigning”, he said. This would hinder their ability to receive donations and provide information to the public on a wide range of health issues, he claimed.