Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 5 Hansard (6 May) . . Page.. 1519 ..
MR SPEAKER (continuing):
But Mr speaker, in regard to the second threshold, which allows the disregarding of transactions and the potential evasion of the scheme, I fail to see how any reasonable Member can support the continuance of this problem. Three years ago a majority of Members were prepared to argue that "The Commonwealth does it, so we can too", even though the potential loophole was pointed out even before the change was passed. Mr Speaker, this loophole must be closed.
Mr Speaker, the Bill also includes clauses repealing the capacity for Commonwealth registered political parties to lodge a Commonwealth Annual Return and have it deemed to satisfy the ACT law. If the Assembly accepts that the thresholds are to be returned to reasonable limits, of even simply that the loophole must be closed, the Commonwealth alternative no longer makes sense, and must be removed.
Finally, I have taken the opportunity to propose a few minor textual improvements. These are minor issues explained in the explanatory memorandum, and I do not propose to discuss them now.
Mr Speaker, I am very pleased to be bringing this Bill on today. It is an item I have flagged on my private members agenda, which I am committed to bringing forward to improve the openness of our political system.
I am aware that this matter is referred to in the report of the Electoral Commissioner for the 1998 ACT Election, and also in the Report of the Pettit Commission on Governance. Both these reports are with Mr Osborne's Select Committee, which has yet to report. To respect the work of that Committee, I have spoken with Mr Osborne and undertaken to make no attempt to bring this Bill on for debate until the Assembly has the benefit of that Committee's report.
I commend the Bill to the Assembly.
Debate (on motion by Mr Stanhope ) adjourned.
MS CARNELL: Mr Speaker, I have answers to two questions I have taken on notice. I seek leave to have them incorporated in Hansard.