Page 2777 - Week 07 - Wednesday, 29 June 2011

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simple objective. It is to ensure that donations which are made to political parties in the ACT do not exceed $50,000. It includes situations where the same source, be this an individual or an organisation, provides a number of donations which aggregate to $50,000.

Mr Smyth went on to say:

We see this as an interim measure, until such time as the Assembly’s committee report has been dealt with by this place …

We do not want to make this law. It is only because, if the reported donation is true, it is the ruthless exploitation of the goodwill and proper processes of this Assembly, and it would make a mockery of any changes if a vast donation were shifted forward simply to circumvent due process.

If the Liberals are aware of a matter to be brought to the attention of the Assembly, they should say what the matter is. If they believe something is going to occur, they should back up that claim with some evidence. This is legislation based on rumour and innuendo. There is no evidence to back up the claim being made by Mr Smyth. The Assembly should not be asked to make interim legislation to block an unidentified event that may or may not occur and which has no substance in fact. No concern has been raised with me as the responsible minister; and indeed the Greens have not raised with me any concern about a possible donation being made. The Assembly simply should not make laws based on rumour and innuendo.

There are a couple of other reasons why this bill should not be debated today. Firstly, in 2009, this place asked the justice and community safety committee to undertake a wide ranging inquiry into campaign finance reform. The terms of reference were agreed amongst all parties and they are extremely broad. A year and a half later, we are yet to see that report from the standing committee.

I note that the standing committee has now agreed that its closing date for submissions will not be until the end of July this year. A full year and a half after the inquiry was commenced, they have just got around to closing off the date for submissions. If this was such an urgent and pressing matter, why has it taken them a year and a half to get to the closing date for submissions? God knows, Mr Speaker, when the inquiry report is going to arrive—hopefully some time before the next election.

It just shows how lacking in genuine intent those opposite are in relation to these matters. They talk about the importance of campaign finance reform but they have been tardy in the extreme in actually dealing with this matter. And let us remember that the chair of that committee is Mrs Dunne. She has it within her power to make sure that that committee reports in a timely way, and she has failed to do so.

So in those circumstances why is it necessary to introduce a reform which goes to the heart of the issues that that Assembly inquiry is looking into? That Assembly inquiry is looking at matters around the regulation of donation size, political party campaign expenditure, third party campaign expenditure, financial disclosure laws, direct and indirect public funding of elections, regulation of donations by private individuals,

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