Page 286 - Week 01 - Thursday, 10 February 2022

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These issues were, of course, canvassed in the regular four-yearly review undertaken by the JACS committee into the most recent election. The committee looked at whether our laws should keep pace with the changing campaign and electoral landscape that we are in. The government thanks members of the JACS committee for their report on the election and recommendations for further electoral reform and for touching on this issue.

I tabled our response to this, following the out-of-session circulation last year. The government has agreed or agreed in principle to 28 of the committee’s recommendations and noted 18 as being matters for the ACT Electoral Commission or requiring further policy work or analysis. We are now in the process of doing that work, with the intention of bringing a comprehensive electoral law reform deal to the Assembly before the end of this year. So we are considering this issue amongst many others, including those matters which were not considered by either the committee or the Electoral Commission.

Indeed, the recommendation that Mr Hanson has referred to in his motion is going to be amongst those the government have noted in our response. We will give further consideration to that matter, alongside the various issues that have been dealt with by the committee and turned into recommendations.

As a priority, the government is committed to taking action on key areas of electoral reform that have been outlined in the parliamentary and governing agreement as well, and that includes banning donations from foreign sources, further embedding accurate and up-to-date reporting of political donations and looking at restricting roadside advertising, in line with community expectations. We recognise the importance of fair, transparent and robust electoral laws in ensuring that the voters of the ACT can make their choice and then see it reflected accurately in the make-up of this place. There is a lot of work to do, and discussion between parties is required to scope and to design the next set of electoral reforms for this Assembly to consider.

I thank Mr Hanson for bringing this matter up. It has been raised before, through the inquiry. It is worth raising the issues again, but these are issues that are already under consideration and will be considered ahead of the reforms that we bring into the Assembly. I am looking forward to discussing those matters with Mr Hanson and Mr Braddock to make sure that we have an electoral system that continues to deliver for the people of the ACT in participating in our democracy.

MR HANSON (Murrumbidgee) (4.33): To the amendment, and in closing, we will not be supporting the amendment, of course, as it gets away from the whole point of the motion, which is to call on the Greens members to acknowledge the issue and write to their party and ask the party to pay the windfall back. That being removed by the amendment, we will not be supporting it.

I am disappointed, I must say, that the Labor Party have not supported this motion. I would have thought this would have been an opportunity for them to show that they are going to put the people of the ACT ahead of their agreement with the ACT Greens. But it is evident that they do not want to rock the boat. They are not going to continue with the concerns that were raised by the grassroots members of the Labor Party.

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