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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 6 Hansard (15 June) . . Page.. 1929 ..

MR KAINE (continuing):

amendment, and stick with what was put to us, as Mr Rugendyke says, after an investigation by people who are better qualified than any of us to make a judgment about it. They said two. So I will go for two, if I get a chance.

MR RUGENDYKE (9.06): Yes, this is another one of those little hurdles that we are expected to jump. I will live with it. I will find as many signatures as Mr Stanhope wants. Being a bit cynical, perhaps this is the deal that this lot gave this lot for the $1,500, to lower the bar. That will be the deal. That is what it will be.

Ms Tucker: How can you deal? They both vote together against you. What is the deal?

MR RUGENDYKE: Yes, I know. One of them had to convince the other to lower the bar on the $1,500. That probably is the deal. Okay, I will live with whatever the result is. I do not know what I am supporting here. I will live with the result.

MS TUCKER (9.07): We will not be supporting the ALP moves to make it harder for people to stand as Independent candidates. Having a diversity of candidates is good for democracy under the current system, but we do not like it when a few sitting Independents want special treatment for themselves. We do not like that. We like it when all the Independents can have an equal go. We like it when it is a fair go.

Mr Rugendyke: Only the ones you do not like.

MS TUCKER: No, it has nothing to do with who I do not like. I like it to be fair. When you choose to stand as an Independent and not as a group, you will only need two signatures if the Greens get their way with this amendment. We are not supporting the Labor Party on this amendment. Under the current system where only two signatures are required to support a candidate nomination, we have not seen a rush of Independent candidates. In the 1998 election only 21 per cent of candidates were Independents. The rest were from parties or the Independent parties of convenience.

People are not going to be Independent candidates just because they only need to find two other people to back them. There are already enough barriers to Independents doing well in elections-for example, the difficulties in getting funding, resources and media coverage. You are only going to get the most committed or foolhardy people putting their names forward. I do not think we need to raise the barrier even higher by requiring them to get 50 signatures. This number is certainly way out of proportion to the requirement for parties to have a minimum of 100 members. We are quite happy to stay with two signatures.

MR MOORE (Minister for Health, Housing and Community Services) (9.09): Mr Speaker, I think Mr Kaine aptly made the case here; that this is about putting more difficulty in the way. Clearly the Labor Party is threatened somewhat by the Independents who run. After this week I imagine they will be threatened a lot more if the smell of what the two major parties has done seeps through yet even further into the electorate. People will realise that they are more and more on the nose, as they are right across this country.

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