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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2015 Week 02 Hansard (Thursday, 19 February 2015) . . Page.. 594 ..

community can be assured that donations made to political parties are visible and are not going to be used in any way to coerce any of us as members in the conduct of our duty, either as ministers or as members. Accordingly, I indicate that we will be supporting this bill.

I note that there are a number of amendments. There is one from the government which arises from comments made by the Electoral Commissioner, which really is a technical clean-up element. There are a number that have been put forward by the Greens. We will be supporting the government’s amendment.

I indicate that we will not be supporting the Greens’ amendments. By and large, they are an attempt to tailor this legislation to fit the Greens. In the majority of cases that is the endeavour, but in my view there is no benefit to the democratic process from the amendments being put forward. The only benefit really would be personally to Mr Rattenbury and to his colleagues. Therefore, we will not be supporting those amendments put forward by the Greens.

MR RATTENBURY (Molonglo) (12.12): Today the Greens will be the only party in this place who will be voting to keep the integrity in our electoral laws. Today the Labor Party and the Canberra Liberals will team up to deliver more cash into their pockets, allowing corporate and union donors to give unlimited amounts during election campaigns. At the same time they will team up to increase the bill to the ACT taxpayer for party spending on election campaigns.

They will team up to ensure that they can spend what they wish on elections but that independents running for office can spend less. They will increase administrative funding coming into their party coffers. Perhaps the most perplexing and offensive of these is that this bill will seek to make the ACT taxpayer fund election campaigns while simultaneously allowing corporations and unions to give unlimited amounts to political parties during election campaigns, leaving politicians more open to the influence of corruption. How they will be able to look the ACT community in the eye and say that this is justifiable I simply do not understand.

I suspect that if there were independents on the crossbench in this Assembly, if there were more voices speaking out about this, then the Labor Party and the Canberra Liberals would not be proceeding down this path. Unfortunately, this is not the case. So the Greens are the only people in this place speaking out. We will be putting forward amendments today to make it clear that we do not support some of the changes that are being proposed here. However, we will likely be outvoted by the big parties today as they seek to line their own pockets and hope that the Canberra community does not notice.

The Greens do support some parts of the Electoral Amendment Bill 2014 and recognise the need for changes to the Electoral Act, both to accommodate the increase in the size of the Assembly and to tweak some of the changes that were made in 2012. The Electoral Amendment Bill arose from the Assembly committee inquiry that was established after the increase to the size of the Assembly was agreed to by the ALP and the Liberals.

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