Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2008 Week 05 Hansard (Thursday, 8 May 2008) . . Page.. 1670 ..
life of the Assembly, not to mention his reputation. It is much easier in many ways to damage the reputation of a member of parliament or another candidate than it is to damage the reputation of someone else, simply because of the position that this person holds in the community and the fact that they are well known in the community—have high recognition.
Someone who is a member of or has a high prospect of being elected to this place should not have to run the gauntlet of defamation. The recommendations of the commissioner and the fact that the government has agreed to this are unfortunate. We will be opposing these provisions.
The crux of this is that it is about Labor looking after itself; it is about Labor’s future. It is planning for the future by making it much easier for the Labor Party to obtain funding and donations without having to account for them.
Over the life of self-government we have seen a lot of backwards and forwards discussion in this place about the unusual arrangement whereby the Labor Party still receives substantial funding from gaming machine revenue. Let us look at other members in this place at other times. I take the example of Mr Osborne, who was employed by a licensed club as a coach from time to time. He declared that he had a conflict of interest and would not vote on issues that related to gaming machines. But the Labor Party has in this place raised its conflict of interest to an art form. You, Mr Speaker, have experienced—
MR SPEAKER: Order! Withdraw that. The question of conflict of interest is a matter for the Assembly to decide.
MRS DUNNE: I withdraw that, Mr Speaker. While I withdraw it, I remind you of your difficult circumstances when you have raised concerns within the Labor Party about poker machines and how you have been treated on these occasions.
The Labor Party is conflicted in that it is an organisation whose principal electoral funding comes off the backs of people with gambling addictions. Mr Stanhope spends a lot of time in this place talking about how most people who go to licensed clubs do not have a gambling addiction. That is true. Many people do go to licensed clubs and from time to time play the poker machines, and it is neither here nor there. But for the proportion of people—and it is not an overly small proportion of people—who are addicted to gambling, it is here or there, and it is here or there for the large number of people and their families who are also affected by their habit.
What we are seeing here today is an opportunity for the Labor Party to make it easier for their members to get elected on the backs of people who have a gambling addiction. A range of amendments in here makes it easy for the Labor Party to do that and to distance itself from its relationship with the Labor Club, whose raison d’etre is to fund the Labor Party.
I do not have a problem with organisations that come together to fund political parties. It is not that there is a problem with that; there are many organisations in many jurisdictions when like-minded people come together and raise money to help the