The Labor and Liberal parties have struck a secret deal to siphon more than $30 million of taxpayer funds into political organisations.
Described as a "dirty cash grab" by some senior government MPs, the two big parties agreed to award themselves $1 for every House of Representatives and Senate vote they get at the September 14 poll.
The "administrative funding" will be separate and on top of the election funding paid to parties or candidates who get at least 4 per cent of first preferences.
This rate is $2.47 a vote but will be indexed for inflation on July 1. From the 2010 election, political parties and candidates shared $53 million in election funding.
There are 14.4 million people on the electoral roll and the Electoral Commission expects a surge in enrolments closer to the election.
Each voter is expected to vote to elect a House of Representatives MP and half the Senate.
The new administrative funding will be paid quarterly.
It is supposedly to compensate parties for the cost of complying with tighter political donation disclosure rules.
But the new disclosure regime will be far more relaxed than the Federal Government first proposed - potentially a flashpoint in the Labor caucus today.
Under reforms Special Minister of State Mark Dreyfus is to unveil, political parties must disclose all donations of $5000 or more.
Though this is less than half the current threshold of $12,100, it is five times more than the $1000 limit Labor promised and championed by former special minister of State Senator John Faulkner.
His proposal for a $50 cap on anonymous donations has also been heavily watered down to a proposed $1000 cap.
It is understood WA Labor MP and former special minister of State Gary Gray was central to developing the less ambitious disclosure rules and Liberal Party Federal director Brian Loughnane was consulted during negotiations.
Senator Faulkner is believed to have expressed disgust at the plan at a caucus sub-committee meeting yesterday. With the ALP facing defeat at the election, it is likely to see its coffers dwindle as big business increases donations to the coalition.
Greens leader Christine Milne said her party would oppose the legislation."The whole point of a public funding model is to stamp out the growing influence of corporate donations on public policy," she said. A rise in public funding without curbs on corporate donations would "only accelerate the arms race".