Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . .

Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 6 Hansard (15 June) . . Page.. 1918 ..

MS TUCKER (continuing):

a special place on the ballot paper in their own columns with their name on the top of the column.

This legitimisation of parties of convenience is bad enough, but the government has conversely made it more difficult for genuine parties to be registered as they now have to have 100 party members regardless of whether they have an elected member. The Greens are prepared to accept this tightening of party registration, although I know that some party members do not like the idea of having to submit a list of our members to the Electoral Commission for checking because of the implications to their privacy. We are nevertheless prepared to accept this change if it is applied fairly across all groups of people who want to contest elections.

But the introduction of the ballot groups for Independent MLAs has made a mockery of this new rule as they do not have to prove that they have at least 100 supporters. Only parties have to do this. My staff talked to the Electoral Commissioner and asked why there was this difference. The commissioner merely said that Independent MLAs have already proven they have lots of supporters by being previously elected. If this is the case, why should parties with elected members have to prove that they have 100 members?

The lack of logic here is easily exposed by looking at my own case. I got over 3,000 first preference votes in the last election, yet the ACT Greens will have to prove to the commissioner that they have at least 100 supporters before I can stand again as their representative. Mr Moore, Mr Rugendyke and Mr Osborne, as Independents, will not have to prove this if they want to establish their own ballot groups. If the ACT Greens membership drops below 100 it will have to deregister, yet, in theory, I could set up my own ballot group called, say, "Kerrie Tucker's ACT Greens", and still run the same candidates.

Regarding my amendments, ideally I would have liked to have just removed the new provision for ballot groups, but this would have required a virtual rewriting of this bill because much of it is about inserting the term "ballot group" wherever the word "party" appears. To save work on my and the drafters' part, I have put up a less complex amendment which merely applies the new requirement that parties have 100 members to ballot groups, thus negating their advantage over parties.

If some members in this Assembly want to be treated as Independents they should be prepared to stand as Independents in elections. If they want to start their own parties they should do the work of setting up a proper party organisation. They should not be using parties of convenience, whether called parties or ballot groups, to give them an unfair advantage over other candidates.

MR KAINE (8.29): I find this part of the debate rather curious because the fact is that every member of this place has an advantage over candidates who are not members. Does Ms Tucker pretend to tell me that when she stands as a candidate for the ACT Greens she is not in a better position to get herself elected than some new Green candidate standing down in Tuggeranong that nobody has ever heard of?

Ms Tucker: Of course I am, but you don't have to make it even more so.

Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . .