The High Court is set to hear why Queensland should no longer ban property developers from making political donations.
Lawyers for former Liberal National Party president Gary Spence will argue on Tuesday the state laws are inconsistent with the implied constitutional freedom of political speech.
They will argue the laws also undermine the federal government’s exclusive power to regulate federal elections.
The Queensland laws began operating in October 2018 following an anti-corruption investigation and also cover industry representative organisations.
They make it a crime for a developer to make a political donation, a person to make a donation on behalf of a developer, or a person to accept a political donation made by or on behalf of a developer.
Similar laws apply in NSW, which were upheld in the High Court in 2015.
The Queensland government has argued while the laws do “impose a burden of communication upon government and political matters for political parties and candidates as a result of the restriction upon the source of funds”, this burden is “indirect and insubstantial”.
It also says the laws level the playing field in terms of political donations, improve the integrity of the parliament and government of Queensland and help prevent corruption.
In its submission, the federal government has rejected the argument commonwealth electoral laws are undermined by the Queensland laws.
It also says the Queensland scheme is indistinguishable from that operating in NSW, which was found to be in line with the constitution.
Mr Spence announced his resignation as LNP president in December last year, blaming the new laws, as he was also chairman of engineering consultancy firm PeakUrban.
He argued this would make him a “prohibited donor” subject to hefty fines and even prison time if he stayed in both roles.
The Tasmanian, South Australian, Western Australian, Victorian and ACT governments have also intervened in the case.