Thursday, 11 May 2006
Electoral and Referendum Amendment (Electoral Integrity and Other Measures) Bill 2005
Consideration in Detail
I rise to support the member for Calare. The very reasons why these amendments to the Electoral and Referendum Amendment (Electoral Integrity and Other Measures) Bill 2005 should be supported have just been articulated by the Special Minister of State. The minister talks about transparency; the amendments deliver a degree of transparency. The minister talks about the accountability of the process; the amendments deliver that, particularly in relation to the disclosure of donations but also through the simplification of the Senate voting process and through the cap on expenditure. I think these amendments deliver positively in terms of the integrity of the electoral process.
The minister has just said he believes the current bill and the government’s amendments will give greater disclosure—and I am pleased to note that the Attorney-General is in the chamber. I am not sure whether the Attorney-General was listening last night when I spent some time talking about the Australian Electoral Commission currently investigating Mr Greg Maguire, a businessman from Tamworth who was involved in the allegations of bribery involving the member for Gwydir and Senator Sandy Macdonald, but he ought to be aware of that. The Australian Electoral Commission is investigating claims made under oath by Mr Maguire in terms of political donations. I would ask the Attorney-General to look very closely at the integrity of the processes the minister has talked about—the integrity of the Senate and the integrity of the legal process involved in being sworn under oath and committing to provide certain information under oath in terms of the Electoral Commission. If the minister at the table, Minister Nairn, is serious about honesty in terms of disclosure, we have to make sure the Electoral Commission looks seriously at these issues.