Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1995 Week 7 Hansard (17 October) . . Page.. 1755 ..
MRS CARNELL (Chief Minister) (4.51): This debate today has been somewhat unusual. We should call this debate the bye-bye Berry debate, because I suspect that that is really what we are talking about here. We have heard Mr Berry talk about how the rank and file of the Labor Party preselect candidates in order. Since when did the Labor Party have a rank and file preselection system? Since when did the Labor Party have anything but a collegiate system - 50 per cent to the rank and file but 50 per cent to the college? What is the college made up of? Of course, it is made up predominantly of the Left.
That is what this debate is about today. It is not about the rank and file determining who should be put No. 1, No. 2 or No. 3 but simply about the Left determining who should be elected and who should not be. If the Labor Party had a rank and file system and all members of the party had an equal vote, then you could possibly accept their argument; but they do not. They simply do not like democracy; they do not like giving power back to the people. The only information they are talking about making available to the people of Canberra is on the order to put their preferences in. It is no other information we are talking about here. It is about whom to put 1, whom to put 2 and whom to put 3, as decided not by the rank and file of the party but by the college. Probably 70 per cent of the college is from the Left.
MR HUMPHRIES (Attorney-General) (4.53): Mr Speaker, I want to make a couple of points on these amendments. Ms Follett raised an interesting issue - a philosophical issue, in a sense - about the impact of how-to-vote information placed on the walls of a polling booth. She pointed out, quite accurately, that no-one has to follow a how-to-vote card; that no-one is compelled to use it and, therefore, it should not be anything other than a guide to people who have come into the polling booth to cast a vote. That has some superficial attraction.
Let me, first of all, put to one side the issue of what is actually on those how-to-vote cards. I would suggest, Mr Speaker, that when you see a how-to-vote card which says "How to vote Labor" it is a reasonable inference on the part of some people that the Labor Party is telling them that in order to vote for the Labor Party they ought to vote for candidates in a particular order. It is not unreasonable to assume that the party is saying that to you. If you are scrupulous and say, "You do not have to do this, but I recommend that you might like to think about it", then that is fine; but if the thing says "How to vote Labor" or "How to vote Liberal" it is quite open to some people - those individuals in the community who in the past have depended on how-to-vote cards - to assume that they have to vote for the party in the order set out. That is one issue, but let us just put it to one side.
Let us assume that somehow - not in these amendments - you exclude that kind of semidictated order approach in your how-to-vote cards and simply suggest an order on the how-to-vote card on the side of the polling booth carrel. Mr Speaker, we have debated in this Assembly many times in the past the suggestive power of advertising. We have talked, for example, about the need to reduce tobacco advertising in the community. When we passed the Tobacco (Amendment) Bill in 1990, we were all very