Page 5310 - Week 14 - Thursday, 19 November 2009

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This motion is simply a recognition that reform is needed and a calling cry to those with the ability and will to amend the current system. The areas that will be investigated include donation size, party expenditure, third party expenditure, disclosure laws, public funding, and regulation of corporate and external donations. The committee would also look at the use of government resources for electoral purposes, such as using government facilities for creating party political advertising during election campaigns.

None of these issues are beyond the contemplation that some reform may be necessary. None are issues isolated to the ACT. None deserve hysterics or histrionics. The community has a right to expect that all political parties in the ACT will join in this discussion. It remains only to see whether all parties in this place are willing to be part of that nationwide discussion or be left behind to fight against a tide that is surely changing.

Our system of democracy is designed to give an equal voice to all members in society. As we have seen time and time again, from all levels of our society, that equality is being eroded. It can only be reformed if those of us in positions of power stop clinging to our positions through the pursuit of pecuniary superiority and the means with which to spend. It is needed to ensure that the democratic process remains, in fact, what it was intended to be—that is, a system of government that is open to all comers, that is free from influence from outside parties with ulterior motives, and that is an informed and open expression of the will of the people, not a flexing of fiscal muscle.

I am a passionate believer in the need for this reform. It speaks deeply to me as a person, a citizen and a parliamentarian. It has bipartisan political support around the country, academic support and ethical support. I commend the motion to the Assembly.

Sitting suspended from 12.31 to 2 pm.

Private members business notice No 3

Supplementary questions

Statement by Speaker

MR SPEAKER: Before I call the Leader of the Opposition, I would like to make a couple of brief comments.

Yesterday, the Assembly debated a motion by Ms Bresnan concerning the proposed purchase of the Calvary hospital. During debate on that motion, Mr Hanson moved an amendment that was identical to notice No 3 on today’s notice paper. Mr Hanson’s amendment was negatived.

I have spoken before in this place about standing order 136. As the notice is the same in substance as the amendment that was negatived, and as outlined on page 138 of the Companion to the Standing Orders for the Legislative Assembly that such notices have previously been removed from the notice paper, I accordingly direct that the notice in Mr Hanson’s name be removed from the notice paper.

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