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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 5 Hansard (6 May) . . Page.. 1517 ..


MR MOORE (Minister for Health and Community Care) (5.46): I present the Electoral (Amendment) Bill 1999, together with its explanatory memorandum.

Title read by Clerk.

MR MOORE: I move:

That this Bill be agreed to in principle.

I table the presentation speech and seek leave to have it incorporated in Hansard.

Leave granted.

The speech read as follows:


MR SPEAKER , I present the Electoral (Amendment) Bill 1998, and move that it be agreed to in principle.

Members present in the last Assembly will remember the origin of this issue. The Liberal and Labor parties together voted to amend the previous ACT law regarding what financial transactions by political parties needed to be reported to the community. They did this, it was argued, to match the Commonwealth arrangements, which had recently been changed.

The entire crossbench at the time opposed the move vigorously. Mr Osborne and Ms Tucker will remember why. We opposed the changes because we did not accept the arguments of the large parties that their own administrative convenience justified reducing what the public were entitled to know about who was making donations to them and what they were spending money on.

I have always maintained that I would bring this matter back before a new Assembly to test once more whether you are prepared to accept that that decision was contrary to a healthy political system.

Last year the idea of trying to reverse the major parties joint decision was given even greater justification by the Commonwealth government. Prior to the last federal election the Commonwealth proposed amending their scheme to lift the reporting thresholds even higher - far higher than it would be reasonable to apply to the ACT political scene. Their legislation lapsed with the 1998 election, but it can be assumed that they will eventually make their changes.

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