Page 5348 - Week 14 - Thursday, 19 November 2009

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Any lack of transparency or perception of conflict of interest creates distrust in the community and loss of confidence in our democratic system. Therefore, political finance reform is a sound method of managing risk against possible political corruption.

Because electoral matters are at the heart of democracy on the one hand and of politics on the other, the issues are complex. However, genuine electoral competition is essential to a robust democracy. I encourage all members to support this motion because as representatives of the people of Canberra we cannot afford the public’s faith in our electoral system to be diminished.

MR CORBELL (Molonglo—Attorney-General, Minister for the Environment, Climate Change and Water, Minister for Energy and Minister for Police and Emergency Services) (4.03): The government will be supporting this motion today and also the amendment proposed by Ms Hunter. However, I move the following amendment to Ms Hunter’s amendment:

Insert the following words after “ACT” in paragraph (1): “having regard to the Commonwealth Government’s Electoral Reform Green Paper, Donations, Funding and Expenditure (December 2008)”.

This is an important debate and it is important to recognise the contribution that jurisdictions from around Australia are making to the public discussion and debate on the issues of campaign finance and options for reform. Most significant of these other contributions is the commonwealth government’s green paper on electoral reform, donations, funding and expenditure, which was released in December 2008, providing substantial background and material to inform the work of the committee.

What is particularly important about this paper is that it captures the current issues and provides discussion points to examine matters that affect all jurisdictions. The paper does have regard to the different legislative and regulatory regimes that apply in each state and territory, as well as options for reform at the commonwealth level. For example, it provides an examination of the effectiveness of provisions in relation to campaign funding and a comparative examination of approaches in other jurisdictions, including in comparable overseas jurisdictions.

The green paper sets out fundamental matters such as the rationale for the reasons for regulation of electoral funding and donation. It lays out the principles that inform regulation of electoral funding and disclosure. The committee may wish to consider these principles in its deliberations. It includes principles such as integrity, transparency, accountability, enforceability, the right to privacy, participation, freedom of political association and freedom of expression. These are all important issues that should be front and centre of the committee’s deliberation, and that is why I am proposing in my amendment that specific reference is made to this green paper. I note that Mr Seselja in his comments during his speech also made reference to this document.

So, members, what I am proposing is a simple amendment that will reassert the importance of this particular document. It does not mean that the committee must only have regard to it at the expense of others, but I think this particular document is

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