Page 637 - Week 02 - Thursday, 19 February 2015
Madam Assistant Speaker, the government’s package of amendments represents a considered and pragmatic response to the current policy environment. It strikes a balance between improving the transparency and accountability of the system while facilitating appropriate participation in political communication. I commend the bill to the Assembly.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill agreed to in principle.
MR CORBELL (Molonglo—Deputy Chief Minister, Attorney-General, Minister for Health, Minister for the Environment and Minister for Capital Metro) (4.33): Madam Assistant Speaker, I seek leave to later move amendments to this bill that have not been considered by the scrutiny of bills committee.
Clauses 1 to 3, by leave, taken together and agreed to.
MR RATTENBURY (Molonglo) (4.35): I move amendment No 1 circulated in my name [see schedule 1 at page 664].
This amendment reinstates the offence clause for the limit on gifts, which I talked about extensively in my in-principle speech. This is a consequential amendment in this space, but, due to the construction of the act and the way the amendments are being moved, it comes up first. So I will make my remarks about this issue generally now.
The Greens will not be supporting removing the limits on donations to political parties. As I commented earlier, we believe this is a backward step that all the experts in the field I have seen indicate we should not be doing. It is at odds with the general direction of the debate around Australia, even in the context of public funding increasing—or, should I say, especially in the context of public funding increasing.
The ACT currently has a donations cap of $10,000 and a restriction that these donations can only be made by people enrolled on the electoral roll in the ACT. The committee has recommended, and the government has supported, that section 205I(4) of the Electoral Act be repealed as it is considered to be vulnerable to High Court challenge.
The consequence is that this will allow corporations and individuals inside and outside the ACT to make donations rather than just those who are enrolled on the ACT electoral roll, as is currently the case in the legislation. Under the circumstance of section 205I(4) being repealed, I believe it is appropriate to lower the donation on