Page 657 - Week 02 - Thursday, 19 February 2015
The 250-metre proposal has its own problems. The government looked at this following the committee report. In particular, one of the difficulties is that it creates a perimeter that, in quite a large number of instances, bisects existing retail shopping centres in the ACT. So you would have parts of local or district shopping centres where canvassing was not allowed on polling day and you would have others where canvassing was allowed on polling day. Logistically, I think it is even more of a nightmare than the current 100-metre rule.
The government does not rule out bringing this matter back to the Assembly. Indeed, we would welcome further discussion across the parties on the question. But we do not believe this proposal is the answer either and we will not be supporting the amendment.
MR HANSON (Molonglo—Leader of the Opposition) (5.49): Our position is not dissimilar. There are a number of views that have been expressed about this matter. It is an ongoing issue. There is one alternative at the end of the spectrum, which is the federal rules. The other end of the spectrum is perhaps the way they do it in Tasmania, where there is no campaigning activity at all, and then there are measures in between. There is no perfect solution to this. The measure that we have at the moment of 100 metres does have problems associated with it. But, as Mr Corbell outlined, moving to 250 metres or to another amount—say, 500 metres—has equal problems.
From the Liberal Party point of view, we would be very happy to continue this discussion. In many ways, it is not connected to the other elements of this bill. It is not connected to the finance elements, which need to be in a package, in my view. They need to be discussed in a suite and agreed on today. This is something that we can, in essence, put a pin in. I am open to those discussions with Mr Rattenbury and Mr Corbell with representatives from my party.
We will have these ongoing discussions, but ultimately the problem with this is that in the Hare-Clark system there is no perfect answer. It is not like the federal campaigns, where you have a single candidate for each of the parties. When you have, as will be the case, five candidates from each of the parties, it can become problematic. So it is a balance between making sure that candidates have the ability to get their message out but preventing it becoming what could be pretty disorderly at the site of the polling booth.
MR RATTENBURY (Molonglo) (5.51): I welcome the comments made today. I think this is one of those practical issues that we can potentially keep working on to try and find a better solution. I think everyone recognises the current situation is unsatisfactory. I guess we will keep at it.
Proposed new clauses 57A and 57B negatived.
Proposed new clauses 57C and 57D.
MR RATTENBURY (Molonglo) (5.51): I move amendment No 18 circulated in my name, which inserts new clauses 57C and 57D [see schedule 1 at page 667].