Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2011 Week 10 Hansard (Thursday, 22 September 2011) . . Page.. 4297 ..
options to create electoral participation grants and party development grants. On its face, it is fine. It actually allows for some conversation and discourse in the public arena. But we really need the community to express its view on whether it wants public funds expended on giving grants to single issue, very brief political entitles like the Warm Tomato Party or the Party Party Party, or fly-by-night ones that come and go; they might stick around for two elections and that is it. I would suggest that they might have a view on it.
I do not suggest that this recommendation should not go forward, but I would want to make sure that the Electoral Commission not only conducts its research on how this might happen, on options as to how it might happen, but also canvasses the views of the community on whether they want it to happen at all, before it goes too far down the track.
I mentioned the administrative funding before. I have a feeling that that might be unconstitutional. I actually applauded Ms Hunter’s contribution in the committee’s deliberations when she was putting the view that if we are draconian over here, we need to be compensatory over there, and I think that is a fair position to take. I do not want her to think for a second that I am dismissing her suggestion. I remember reading Professor Twomey’s comment that the High Court takes a dim view of something which will assist incumbents, and I think that is what this system will do. I know that that system will do it.
The figures contained in here, generally speaking, are taken from the New South Wales or Queensland models—the $60,000. And I think we had a discussion on $80,000. But I have to say that I did not contribute with respect to the figure of $7,000. This is where some of the robust nature or the academic aspect did not occur. And it was at the last minute that the figure appeared, as advised to me. I think I said at some point, “Ten grand.” It was a throwaway line. I had no thought that that would not be academically researched and checked. But then I find Ms Hunter has actually said, “Well, we can go with the $5,000 as in the New South Wales legislation.” I think it was New South Wales; I could be wrong there. Mrs Dunne said, “No; $10,000.” And do you know what happened? There was a compromise—somewhere in the middle.
Mrs Dunne interjecting—
MR HARGREAVES: That is academically robust, isn’t it? And we do that—
Mrs Dunne interjecting—
MADAM ASSISTANT SPEAKER (Ms Le Couteur): Mrs Dunne, please be quiet.
MR HARGREAVES: I have asked for courtesy and, as usual, I do not get it. Mrs Dunne had this conversation with me at the last minute in the committee. I was given the report to consider on Monday morning. I was given another report to consider later that day. The whole thing, from my perspective, was rushed at the end. We should have sought to take it forward to October.
MS HUNTER (Ginninderra—Parliamentary Leader, ACT Greens) (11.22): Firstly I would like to thank fellow committee members, the secretariat staff and particularly