Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 3 Hansard (24 March) . . Page.. 730 ..
MR MOORE (continuing):
Canberra Times some months ago identified clearly the level of conflict of interest and the sort of conflict of interest that exist here. That editorial, as I recall it, identified that Labor's re-election opportunities are fundamentally tied to the clubs because the vast majority of money that comes to the Labor Party comes from the clubs. I do not have a problem with that at all.
The question that was raised in that editorial was whether such a heavy reliance should prohibit members from voting on issues that protect or benefit clubs in some way. The conclusion drawn by the editorial was that they should stand aside from this sort of matter in the way Paul Osborne did. That is an interesting issue. It is not about whether or not you have received odd donations or even reasonably substantial donations. Those ones are dealt with by a declaration which is made public so that members of the public can see where a member has received a donation of over $500 and therefore the influence that that may have on a member when they are making their decision. That is how we deal with that. We know that to run a campaign it does require donations. They are dealt with by the declaration.
But this is so fundamental to the whole re-election prospects of the Labor Party, because the vast majority of their funding, almost the whole of it, comes from this particular source that is carefully protected by legislation. I have drawn out an argument that was in the editorial in the Canberra Times. It is an argument that I have put frequently in this house and that I will continue to put.
Mr Hargreaves: You will continue to make a fool of yourself.
MR MOORE: Mr Hargreaves interjects, "Every time you do you will make a fool of yourself". That may well be his judgment. At any time I have discussed this issue with people other than members of the Labor Party, they have been able to see the difference between a donation of a certain level that is declared and one that is fundamental to the existence of a party, as the Canberra Times was.
Mr Berry: As a man of principle, are you going to support the motion?
MR MOORE: Mr Berry says, "As a man of principle, are you going to support the motion?". In fact, we do not have a motion before us, Mr Berry. We have a piece of legislation before us. Granted, it is being considered as a motion. You will have to wait and see how the vote goes. Mr Berry, why do you not also think about some principle? You are asking me whether I will act on principle. I will make a decision and you will make a judgment about it. Why do members of the Labor Party not think about principle as well? You have a very clear conflict of interest that has been identified, amongst others, by the editorial in the Canberra Times. You have a very clear conflict of interest on this particular legislation, and you really ought to do what Mr Osborne did. He retained his credibility and said, as he has always done, "In this area I have a conflict of interest and I am standing aside". This legislation protects the nest egg which allows the Labor Party to be re-elected.