Page 593 - Week 02 - Thursday, 19 February 2015

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What that means is that particularly the major parties, often those engaged in a desperate attempt to outspend each other, simply will not be able to do that. They will not be able to do that. That is an important element of providing more space for minor parties and individuals.

It also means that those major parties are not in an arms race and a desperate attempt to raise more money to fund ever increasing electoral campaigns. In the United States, where there are fewer restrictions, we have seen this dreadful situation emerge where there is an ever increasing expenditure on campaigns. Parliamentarians in the US have spent an inordinate amount of time raising funds for campaigns.

Balanced with that, Madam Speaker, is an increase in public funding. I know that that is controversial, but that does seem to have broad support from those who have observed the process, those who have participated in the committee hearings, to make sure, again, that political parties are not beholden in any way to those people that they need to seek donations from.

There will be donations. People are allowed to participate in the democratic process. The High Court has made that very clear. The people who reported to the committee made that very clear. It is a very important, fundamental part of our democratic process that people not be excluded, and that includes donations. All sorts of people donate to political campaigns. Unions do, businesses do and individuals do. I would say that my mother probably has donated much of her time.

Mr Gentleman: Not to mine.

MR HANSON: Family members have donated—not to yours, Mr Gentleman, no. But in many campaigns family members do. It is a grassroots, participative process. Many people do not want to stand as candidates. They do not want to or are unable to go and leaflet drop or do something, but they may want to buy a raffle ticket. They may want to participate.

We should not be putting punitive restrictions on those people’s ability to do so, because when that occurs, firstly, it is a restriction on their rights, as outlined by the High Court. Secondly, we have seen them attempt to circumvent the system. One of the elements that went so wrong in New South Wales was that the grip was too tight. What happened was that people tried to circumvent the process.

We will have a fundamental cap on what parties can expend by having an element of increased public expenditure, by making sure that we have a process that is very open to scrutiny and by declaring what is provided. I welcome these amendments. I thank the committee members for the work they did. I acknowledge the work that has been done in this place.

I have had meetings with both Mr Corbell and Mr Rattenbury in good faith to discuss these issues, to make sure that we do come to a position that ultimately means that elections can be run and that we engage in the political process but that we do so in a way that is fair, that has integrity and that is honest so that members of our

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