Thursday, 11 May 2006
Electoral and Referendum Amendment (Electoral Integrity and Other Measures) Bill 2005
Consideration in Detail
I raise a couple of points in this consideration in detail debate on the Electoral and Referendum Amendment (Electoral Integrity and Other Measures) Bill 2005. The member for Bruce commented a moment ago about elections being called at particular times. One thing that may well alleviate that problem would be to move to fixed terms in the federal parliament. I was involved in the early nineties in a hung parliament in New South Wales and the Independents in that parliament were instrumental in putting in place a four-year fixed term within the New South Wales jurisdiction. I do not think anybody on either side of the New South Wales parliament—it was a Liberal government in power at the time—would now argue that they revert to the old system. It addressed the uncertainty that the member for Bruce talked about of when an election could be held and a whole range of administrative problems with the Electoral Commission and people knowing when things are happening.
The Special Minister of State spoke earlier about young people. Minister, one of the problems that young people whom I am in contact with have with the political process is that they see failing transparency in the way in which particularly the executive of government is run. This bill adds to that problem, in my view. Donations will be able to be hidden away in various associated entities and other bodies. The transparency of the donation process in particular will be much greyer, and I think that disillusions people who would like to engage in the political process. They really need to know who is paying the piper in terms of political donations.
My main purpose for rising at this stage of the debate is to put on the public record that I will not be supporting two of the amendments that the member for Calare has moved. It is a shame that they are bulked together. I do not believe that prisoners—people who have broken the law and are incarcerated—deserve the vote, but I place on the public record that I do support the seven-day rule that the member for Calare is arguing for. Arguments have been put in the last 10 minutes that actually support that, including an argument from the minister when he said that it is within the last few days that people become aware and then register. His argument is that, if you make it any two days, they will do it in the last few days. I think the seven-day rule deserves support—I know it will be defeated here—but I do feel strongly about the two issues, the prisoner issue and the seven-day rule, being bracketed together and I will not be supporting the member for Calare.