Legislative Assembly for the ACT: Week 6 Hansard (24 June) . . Page.. 2705..
MS DUNDAS (8.44): I thank members for their considered contribution to this debate. I would like to say that the Democrats will be supporting the amendment. We see it that this amendment does not prevent clubs making donations to political parties in any way: it just ensures that, if donations are made to political parties, community contributions are made as well.
We see that political parties are different in the same way that clubs are considered different. There are different regulatory mechanisms that apply to political parties because of the role that they play in furthering political debate and the role that they play in ensuring that our parliaments work effectively. In that sense, it is important that we do distinguish, but we are saying that you cannot just hand over all of the contribution you have to make to a political party and that is your community contribution. That is not the answer we are looking for.
I support the amendment, which still allows clubs to make donations to political parties, but it means that the community contributions are counted separately. We have had debates about different exemptions for community contributions for a number of different things, when we have been trying to support things that we think should require more community contribution than others. In this sense, as I have said, there is a case for considering political parties differently.
MR STEFANIAK (8.46): I thank members for their contribution. I am somewhat disappointed that Ms Tucker, after all that, is not going to support the amendment. For your benefit, Ms Tucker, I remember quite well when this provision was brought in. I thought that it was a bit out of left field, too. I have some sympathy for what you have said, and even for what Mr Quinlan has said-except that, in the time the provision has been in the act, it has proved to be quite sensible.
In the rest of Australia-with the possible exception of a very small club somewhere in New South Wales-no other political party receives considerable benefit from gaming machines. People ask what the difference is between this and doing a dollar-for-dollar contribution for all money raised by political parties. Yes, maybe, but that is different from expecting, say, the CFMEU Redfern branch to make a dollar-for-dollar contribution to community organisations every time it gives the Labor Party money.
The thing to realise here is that we have a regime where seven per cent has to go to community contributions. Mrs Cross and Ms Dundas have explained quite well that here some extra money is donated to political parties that they get from poker machines. There is a lot of strength in what both Ms Dundas and Mrs Cross say there.
This particular measure has not caused any angst whatsoever since it came in, so I am disappointed that Ms Tucker is not supporting it at the end of the day. I can read the numbers, and it is a shame. This provision, despite the controversy about how it originated, has served us and the community well, and I think the community will lose a little bit as a result of the rejection of this amendment.
That Mr Stefaniak's amendment be agreed to.