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  3. Money, Law and Politics

Money, Law and Politics (LAWS70425)

Graduate coursework level 7Points: 12.5On Campus (Parkville)

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Year of offer2019
Subject levelGraduate coursework Level 7
Subject codeLAWS70425
Availability(Quotas apply)
FeesSubject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date

Money in politics raises profound challenges for democracies across the world: billion-dollar American presidential elections have led United States being branded the 'best democracy money can buy'; in Indonesia, the tactics of ‘money politics’ are regularly decried; and in Australia, unregulated political spending in federal elections raise concerns about the fairness of such contests.

What should be the role of the law in regulating money in politics? What should be the principles to determine the content and the limits of such law? What should be the respective roles of the legislature, executive and the judiciary in shaping such laws? And what should be the institutional framework for ensuring compliance with legal obligations?

This subject will adopt a cross-national approach to examining these challenging questions. It will examine the experiences of a range of countries including those from the Commonwealth (eg Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom), Europe (eg France and Germany), South-East Asia (eg Indonesia) and the United States. Taught by two leading experts in this field, the subject will draw out the tensions and dilemmas in regulating money in politics.

Principal questions examined include:

  • What are the regulatory challenges of money in politics?
  • What standards and principles should apply to the regulation of such money? Do these standards and principles vary according to particular national contexts? Is it meaningful to speak of international standards or international ‘best practice’?
  • How should political donations and campaign expenditure be regulated?
  • How should public funding of campaigns and political parties be provided?
  • What should be in the institutional framework governing the regulation of money in politics? Which branch of government should have the power to enact such laws? What institutions (eg electoral commissions; anti-corruption commissions) should be responsible for effectively enforcing such regulation?

Intended learning outcomes

A student who has successfully completed this subject will:

  • Have an advanced and integrated understanding of the key principles and theories relating to the regulation of political money in various countries including Australia, Canada, Germany, Indonesia, the United Kingdom and the United States
  • Be able critically apply these principles and theories to a range of contexts
  • Be able to be an engaged participant in debates concerning the regulation of political money
  • Undertake advanced research into the regulation of political money – such research is expected to demonstrate:
  • Expert cognitive and technical skills in researching this topic
  • A mastery of the complex body of knowledge relating to this topic
  • An advanced ability to communicate such knowledge.

Last updated: 20 July 2019