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

Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 14 Hansard (10 December) . . Page.. 5191 ..

MRS CROSS (continuing):

clubs and hotels seeking to influence their gaming machine distribution through threats of withdraw funding for political parties or promises to provide additional funding for political parties? Who will stop governments, which are in reality under the control of political parties, influencing gaming machine allocations based on funding provided to political parties?

Nobody can deny that money is a corrupter. Abraham Lincoln noted, "Moral principle is a looser bond than pecuniary interest,"while Shirley Chisholm quite correctly asserted, "When morality comes up against profit, it is seldom that profit loses."These are sad but nevertheless real perceptions of government and the need for accountability and transparency within government. Accountability and transparency are so important that, without them, corruption flourishes, our system of government is undermined and public confidence diminishes. When public confidence in government diminishes, the foundations on which effective government is built are eroded. As legislators, it is our responsibility to ensure that the public has confidence in our government and the system of government under which we all operate.

We must make every aspect of government as accountable and transparent as possible. This is the only way to maintain public confidence. We must put the notion of maintaining public confidence above self-interest, because we are here as representatives of the public and not merely ourselves. We have to eradicate any perception that clubs can buy gaming machines by providing political parties, who may operate and control government, with donations. It is as simple as that. These are the other core reasons that I presented this bill. Accountability and transparency in government, not self-interest, should determine how members vote on this bill tonight.

I would also like to note that this is not an attempt at campaign finance reform. This is not the start of a wave of reforms aimed at eliminating political donations. It is not a bill that looks, en masse, at funding disclosure, systems of public funding and electoral rules. This is a bill that accomplishes two ends. First, it ensures that licensed clubs, which have a state-protected practical monopoly on gaming machines and are non-profit organisations, fulfil their legal obligation to put all money where? Into the community. Second, this bill seeks to ensure public confidence is maintained by eradicating any perception that gaming machine allocation is somehow influenced by the donations of licensed clubs to political parties.

Anybody who does not support this bill is voting out of self-interest rather than for the good of the community, the good of Canberra and the good of transparent and accountable government. No other explanation is possible: it is self-interest above Canberra. Those who conspire to defeat this bill are a cancer on transparent government and are poisoning the pursuit of accountability.

Those who conspire to defeat this bill will promote a government of smoke and mirrors which can operate in murky waters, unethical and unchecked. An aye for this bill is an aye for accountable and transparent government and an aye for community development and progress. A no for this bill is a yes for corruption and unethical behaviour in government, a yes for the promotion of self-interest above community interests and a yes for placing politicians above community infrastructure.

Mr Corbell: On a point of order-

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