Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2012 Week 4 Hansard (29 March) . . Page.. 1601..
Associated entities are included in a party grouping at subsection (1)(a) and with a non-party MLA at subsection (1)(b). If subsection (1)(e) is left to stand, gifts received by relevant associated entities will be reported twice—once by the associated entity and again by the party grouping or non-party MLA. This duplication of reporting requirements is unnecessary and burdensome and, therefore, the government proposes it be omitted from the bill.
Amendment 5 refers to clause 26 of the bill, which inserts a new section 216A into the Electoral Act. Amendment 5 specifically addresses a drafting issue identified in section 216A(6). This new section provides for the relevant period for the regular disclosure of gifts. Paragraph (b) contains a technical error, and paragraphs (b) and (c) can be expressed more concisely. Accordingly, the government proposes that paragraphs (b) and (c) be substituted with a clearer definition for the relevant reporting period for non-party candidates and non-party prospective candidates. The effect of amendment 5 does not alter the intent of the original amendment of the Electoral Amendment Bill.
Amendment 6 refers to clause 57 of the Electoral Amendment Bill and inserts a new section 236 into the Electoral Act. This amendment specifically addresses an omission identified in sections 236(2) and 236(3). The new section 236 has omitted the existing section 236(2) in the act, which provides for the offence of submitting an incomplete return and the offence of failing to keep records in accordance with section 239. This was an inadvertent omission in developing the legislation. The effect of this amendment will be to retain existing offences.
Amendment 7 refers to clause 70 of the bill, which inserts a new part 31, a transitional part, into the act. The amendment inserts into the new part a new section 506A to address an issue identified with the reporting requirements under section 221A of the act.
As the act stands at the moment, for the 2011-12 reporting year, parties are not required to take account of individual gifts received of less than $1,000 in determining which donors they have to identify in their annual returns under sections 230 and 232. This gap in reporting will continue to apply under the transitional provisions in the Electoral Amendment Bill for the 2011-12 financial year.
The gap is partly covered by the requirement under section 221A of the act for donors who give amounts that sum to more than $1,000 in the reporting year, regardless of the size of any individual amounts, to lodge annual returns. The bill closes this gap in party reporting completely by requiring that all gifts received by parties after 1 July this year that total to $1,000 or more be reported in their returns. While section 221A remains in force until 30 June 2012, it is omitted from the Electoral Act after 1 July. However, as currently drafted, the bill has no transitional provision requiring donors to submit returns to the commissioner for the 2011-12 financial year.
In order to avoid opening a loophole in reporting of gifts received for the remainder of the 2011-12 financial year, the new transitional amendment in section 506A applies section 221A for the purpose of the 2011-12 reporting year despite its repeal. It also requires that donor returns be submitted by 31 July 2012, in line with the requirements