Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1995 Week 7 Hansard (17 October) . . Page.. 1702 ..
MR KAINE (continuing):
Apart from the Greens' obvious reluctance to see all those trees being chopped down to publish this kind of material, it would have to be in their interests to support this amendment because of the fairness that it introduces into the electoral system for them. They do not have to try to compete with the Labor Party, with all of its unlimited resources.
Mr Speaker, I am astonished to see the continuing charade put on by the Labor Party in an attempt yet again to defer or prevent the implementation of the wishes of the community as strongly expressed in that referendum back in 1992.
Mr Berry: The question was not even asked.
MR KAINE: It was implicit, Mr Berry, for anybody but the Labor Party, which was stuck on single-member electorates. It was implicit in the matter that was put to the referendum, and the majority of people said, "Yes, that is what we want". It included the Hare-Clark system, with Robson rotation, as is used in Tasmania. You bring forward the Labor members of the Tasmanian Parliament who are permitted under Tasmanian electoral law to hand out how-to-vote cards within 100 metres of a polling booth and I will listen to your argument. That State has been under Labor governments for a good deal of the last 50 years. Obviously, the Labor people in Tasmania understand what the Hare-Clark system, with Robson rotation, as practised in Tasmania, means, even if you lot in the ACT cannot read. Let us be clear that the Minister is accepting his responsibility to do what the electorate said they wanted. This Bill removes yet one more element of unfairness for minor parties and Independents. Mr Speaker, it has my support. I know that there are some rednecks in this place who will not support it, for no reason other than political ideology, but I think they ought to be ashamed of themselves.
MR MOORE (11.47): Mr Speaker, listening to the speech of the Leader of the Opposition, I think it is very much a case of selective memory. It is appropriate to remind the house of a number of things that seem to have been missed. Mr Kaine covered a few. Some of them are fundamental. The most important one is the initial referendum, in which, as Mr Kaine pointed out, about two-thirds of the people of Canberra agreed that we should use the Hare-Clark system as it is used in Tasmania. Why did the provisions relating to how-to-vote cards not proceed in this house when the rest of the Hare-Clark system did?
We need to recall that Labor tried to introduce above-the-line voting and shonk the system. In the end that proposal did not even come into the house. The Labor Party withdrew from trying to push it through. There was such a public outrage that they realised that they had done the wrong thing. They also got together with their running mate and close colleague Dennis Stevenson and used their numbers to ensure that this part of the system as used in Tasmania did not go through this house and become subject to the entrenching referendum. Effectively, this part of the system was defeated on the single vote of Dennis Stevenson, who voted with the Labor Party. The Labor Party wanted to shonk the electoral system to ensure that the party machine had the real say about who should be elected. The whole reason for using the system in Tasmania is just the opposite. It is to empower the voter.