Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2008 Week 05 Hansard (Thursday, 8 May 2008) . . Page.. 1724 ..
unique to the ACT but a model that has also meant that the potential for corruption has been greatly limited. For that reason, the government does not propose to support Dr Foskey’s amendment.
The other reason is the same as I have submitted previously, which is that there is a range of issues now being proposed and discussed at a national level about prohibiting donations from people involved in the development and building industry. Certainly, a number of state governments, particularly the New South Wales government, have flagged this as a very real possibility, and the ACT government anticipates that this is a matter that will be discussed by state, territory and federal electoral ministers when we meet later this year. For that reason, we believe it is appropriate to delay any significant changes in this regard pending that national review.
MR MULCAHY (Molonglo) (11.35): I share the attorney’s sentiments on this one. As I indicated before, I think it is inappropriate to be targeting one particular section. I know that is not what the minister was particularly on about, but he did point to the distinct differences between the way in which planning approvals occur within this jurisdiction and the way they occur in a number of municipal environments.
There are many interests that can potentially prosper as a consequence of government decision making that do not fit into the developer category. For example, one that comes to mind is that, come 2011 or 2012, the monopoly on casino licences in this territory will disappear and there is scope for a second operator. That could be potentially very lucrative, depending on where territory law goes on gaming. I know that casinos in Australia, and even in this territory, have utilised the opportunity to provide political donations.
I talked earlier about what hotels and clubs have done in New South Wales and the amount of money that they have thrown around to political events. I cannot see a compelling argument why one aspect of our business environment should be tackled without other areas being equally considered, and then I am just not sure how practical it becomes to start putting all these sorts of things in if somebody is, say, putting in a tender for outsourced IT services and bought tickets at Mr Stanhope’s dinner on Tuesday night at the Hyatt at $220 a plate, or $2,000 a seat—whatever it cost at his table—or at the Liberal Party do in Sydney last night for John Howard.
Given all these different situations arise, unless you outlaw political donations altogether—which I do not think is a good thing, because the usual replacement, that is public funding, based on previous voting tends to limit change politically—unless you tackle all the different areas of people who stand to benefit from government decision making, to target one group, even though they have been in the news of late, is difficult.
Back in the eighties and earlier, tobacco companies used to be massive contributors to political parties. The Labor Party has banned them. I think the Liberal Party has not but has taken a fairly distant view. That whole scene has changed because of changing attitudes and the way those companies operate. So we go through different eras. Right now there is lots of news about developers and allegations of corrupt activities in some parts of Australia. I do not think that what I would call a knee-jerk solution to a