Page 5070 - Week 13 - Thursday, 29 November 2018

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This legislation is written narrowly to achieve its purpose, but it is also drafted to ensure that it is effective. The bill includes a range of measures to prevent circumventing the ban and to ensure that there is no rush to provide donations in anticipation of the Legislative Assembly passing the bill. For example, if a corporation becomes a property developer within 12 months after making a donation, the amount of the donation will have to be paid to the territory by the person who received it. This ensures that people seeking to enter the property development business cannot be advantaged over established developers under the law.

The bill also contains a clause that deals with donations that might occur between the introduction of the legislation and its passage. That means that from today no party or candidate can ultimately benefit from these donations. It will not be a crime to receive those donations but any amounts received will ultimately have to be paid back to the territory.

Attempting to avoid or circumvent the ban or helping a person to avoid the ban are criminal activities under the ACT’s criminal code. Regardless, the government recognises the need to keep monitoring developments to ensure that this ban remains effective. We will keep working with the Electoral Commission and others to maintain the integrity of this legislation. The bill will help voters to stay informed about who is funding candidates and parties. These amendments are, as with the ban on property developer donations, another example of the government getting down to business and meeting its commitments.

To allow for a much faster public visibility of donations and greater transparency the bill introduces year-round reporting of gifts over a $1,000 disclosure threshold. Reports have to be made within seven days. This is similar to a requirement that already exists in Queensland. The $250 exception for fundraising contributions in the Electoral Act will be removed. This means a fundraising contribution of any amount will count towards the disclosure threshold of $1,000. This change will ensure that fundraising events cannot be used to evade the ACT’s existing disclosure obligations.

The Electoral Amendment Bill strengthens the transparency and integrity of the ACT electoral system. Our legislation program this year demonstrates that when we make a commitment we will meet it. We brought forward legislation to establish an integrity commission which will leave our community in no doubt about the openness and the rigour of our methods of providing oversight to public functions. In this bill we are strengthening our governance, our reporting and our electoral donation rules. We will keep working to find ways to make our elections fairer, more inclusive and more transparent. I commend the bill to the Assembly.

Debate (on motion by Mr Hanson) adjourned to the next sitting.

Fuels Rationing Bill 2018

Mr Rattenbury, pursuant to notice, presented the bill, its explanatory statement and a Human Rights Act compatibility statement.

Title read by Clerk.

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