Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2022 Week 01 Hansard (Thursday, 10 February 2022) . . Page.. 282 ..
And this is a test for the Labor Party. Are the Labor Party on the side of taxpayers—ratepayers—or are they on the side of the Greens, keeping the harmony going with the parliamentary agreement in this place?
As I said, at its nub this is a simple, common-sense motion. What it says is that profiteering out of public election funding and channelling the money into federal campaigns does not meet community expectations and is not the intent of ACT public funding. One would hope that you agree with that, because that is what I think everybody is saying.
Certainly, the secretary of the Labor Party is saying that. This is paraphrasing what he said. So one would assume that that is what the Labor Party members in here would agree to, unless deals have been done behind the scenes, which, obviously, we would not be aware of. The submission then says that legislation should be amended prior to the 2024 election to ensure that political parties do not profiteer at the expense of ACT taxpayers. I take it from the government response to the JACS committee report that they agree that it is not there for parties to profiteer.
It is not actually for the members here to pay back that money, obviously; it is for the party. So what we are asking the Greens MLAs to do is to write to their party and request that they pay back the profit that was made at the ACT election. It is disappointing that we have reached the point where it requires a motion in the Assembly.
The ethical Greens, as they call themselves all the time, are the party that have found the new way, are always talking about grassroots democracy and have been publicly calling out organisations that got overpaid JobKeeper. They said that if you get overpaid money you should repay it. If their standard is that if you get overpaid via a loophole in law or get paid some money and then turn a profit you should pay that money back—that is their call; I have heard them make that call—one would think that they would hold themselves to the same standard. Otherwise it would be a double standard; it would be saying one thing and doing another. It would be behaving unethically, one could argue.
I commend this motion to the Assembly. I look forward to the money being paid back. I look forward to a loophole in the law being closed by this government in due course.
MR BRADDOCK (Yerrabi) (4.19): Let me be very clear: the ACT Greens did not profit from the election. During the 2020 election campaign we spent more than the income we received from the Electoral Commission. The election report covers a limited time and does not include all expenses incurred. To be clear, this funding was spent on genuine election costs.
This was a system of public moneys set up by the Liberal and Labor parties in 2015. Mr Hanson, then Leader of the Opposition, supported the system and voted for it. The Greens were the only party that voted against that bill because it lifted the cap on donations and removed the limit on gifts. The Greens did not support unlimited donations or gifts because it reduces the transparency and increases the level of grubby influence over politics. Mr Hanson and the Canberra Liberals supported those