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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2019 Week 1 Hansard (12 February) . . Page.. 26 ..

The minister might think he can continue to ignore the many failings, but the people of Canberra are seeing through it. They see through the political spin and the ham-fisted attempts to have a go at the opposition. They understand that our paramedics continue to be under significant strain just to do their jobs on a daily basis.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Electoral Amendment Bill 2018

Debate resumed from 29 November 2019, on motion by Mr Ramsay:

That this bill be agreed to in principle.

MR HANSON (Murrumbidgee) (10.54): My understanding is that, although we are discussing this bill in the in-principle stage today, once we have done so, we will then adjourn the debate. Much of what I say with regard to this bill will perhaps be better informed once some discussions have happened offline and in detail over the coming week or weeks.

In terms of what this bill intends to do, based on what it says, it is to encourage equality of opportunity for democratic participation. We would all agree that that is a noble intention. The question is whether the bill as it has been presented actually achieves that aim or not.

With respect to some aspects of the bill, it prohibits gifts from property developers and their close associates to MLAs, political parties, candidates and associated entities. It prohibits political entities from accepting gifts from property developers and their close associates. It amends the definition of "gift" to include the first $250 of a contribution in a single fundraising event, and it amends the time frames for reporting of gifts.

The Greens, I note, have a series of amendments, but they have not been submitted in accordance with the new standing order requirement of 14 days so that it can go to the scrutiny committee. That is a large part of the reason why we will be delaying further consideration of the bill. No doubt Ms Le Couteur or Mr Rattenbury—whoever is speaking—will discuss some of this, but they are seeking a number of interesting changes. We have not formed a view on those changes and we look forward to discussions in the coming weeks before we can form a view.

They include increasing the cap for independents to $60,000 from the existing $40,000, reducing administrative funding, putting a cap of $10,000 on donations, banning donations from gambling businesses, expanding the definition of "property developer", abolishing the 100-metre rule and making it consistent with the federal rule, which is for a six-metre rule, and including lobbying activists. There are others suggested as well. We have not formed a view, and we look forward to those discussions with the other parties.

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