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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2015 Week 02 Hansard (Thursday, 19 February 2015) . . Page.. 638 ..

the caps further. A donation of $10,000 can carry significant influence, and the policy intent of the campaign finance reform undertaken in the last Assembly was ostensibly to reduce undue influence or the risk of corruption, perceived or real, on those elected to the ACT Legislative Assembly.

It is worth reflecting on the comments that have been made by some of the experts. I refer to an article published in the Canberra Times on 4 February this year under the headline “Concerns over ACT government plan to scrap party donation cap”. The article says:

Constitutional lawyer Professor George Williams said he didn’t understand the surprise move to abolish the $10,000 cap, which would mean there was no limit on how much people or groups could donate each year.

It then quotes Professor Williams as saying:

“It’s accepted that donation caps are important to ensure that no one individual has an undue influence upon the political process”… “Frankly, I was very surprised to hear of it given in NSW the movement, if anything, is to reduce these caps.”

The article then says:

Labor argues there is no need for a donations cap if there is a cap on spending.

It then goes on to say:

However, Professor Williams said a spending cap was not enough.

It quotes him as saying:

“It retains the possibility that an individual or a corporation might give an enormous sum of money in the hope of favours or benefits” …

Mr Hanson: You would know about that.

MR RATTENBURY: I will come to that, because it was only a matter of time before Mr Corbell, Mr Hanson or somebody mentioned the donations that the Greens have received, and I make no bones about the fact that we have received those donations. We will operate within the existing rules. We are campaigning to win seats. But the difference between us and the Labor and Liberal parties is that we are prepared to come in here and try and change the rules. We are not so naive that we are going to tie one hand behind our back to compete against the might of the Labor and Liberal parties. But for all the snide sniggers that have been made around this place, we are the only ones who are prepared to come in here and say, “Let’s change the rules. Let’s all operate under the same set of rules.” But no; these guys would rather operate under the existing rules because they like it that way. That is the difference. We are prepared to come in here and argue for a different system.

Mr Corbell: Now you’ve got the cash in the bank it is all right.

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