Senate debates

Wednesday, 18 June 2008

Same-Sex Relationships (Equal Treatment in Commonwealth Laws — Superannuation) Bill 2008; Tax Laws Amendment (Medicare Levy Surcharge Thresholds) Bill 2008; National Health Amendment (Pharmaceutical and Other Benefits — Cost Recovery) Bill 2008; Tax Laws Amendment (Luxury Car Tax) Bill 2008; a New Tax System (Luxury Car Tax Imposition — General) Amendment Bill 2008; a New Tax System (Luxury Car Tax Imposition — Customs) Amendment Bill 2008; a New Tax System (Luxury Car Tax Imposition — Excise) Amendment Bill 2008; Excise Legislation Amendment (Condensate) Bill 2008; Excise Tariff Amendment (Condensate) Bill 2008; National Fuelwatch (Empowering Consumers) Bill 2008; National Fuelwatch (Empowering Consumers) (Consequential Amendments) Bill 2008; Tax Laws Amendment (2008 Measures No. 3) Bill 2008; Commonwealth Electoral Amendment (Political Donations and Other Measures) Bill 2008

Referral to Committees

9:59 am

Photo of Michael RonaldsonMichael Ronaldson (Victoria, Liberal Party, Shadow Special Minister of State) Share this | Hansard source

What I am talking about, Minister, is your own party. Three members of your executive wanted to increase disclosure to $5,000, and you have the gall to come in here today and attack the Leader of the Opposition in relation to disclosure levels. What an utter disgrace!

I am not going to take up the full time available. The opposition is quite clear on this. We put forward a comprehensive notice of motion in relation to campaign finance reform. We invited the rest of the Senate to join us in relation to that. To their very great credit, the Democrats, the Greens and Family First took up the invitation to support those comprehensive terms of reference. The Australian Labor Party refused to do so. In his first test in relation to comprehensive campaign finance reform, the Prime Minister of this country refused to act. He was given the opportunity; he refused to act.

This minister acknowledges that he has two green papers that are to be brought forward in July and September. The first one relates to the very matter that we are discussing today. Why would you bother having a green paper and then bring in legislation? Again, it beggars belief. One would have to look at the motives behind it to see why it would be done. There is only one motive; it starts with W—it is Wollongong. It is this desperate Prime Minister’s attempt to be seen to be doing something.

We categorically reject the allegations made today. We challenge the Labor Party to finally take up the challenge that, with the minor parties, we have put through to have comprehensive reform. We challenge the Australian Labor Party to let the Joint Standing Committee on Electoral Matters do the work it has been doing on a bipartisan basis since 1983. We challenge the Australian Labor Party to stop playing games with campaign finance reform, to join the rest of us in getting something serious done and putting it on the table and to stop bringing into this place piecemeal bits of legislation that it has cherry-picked for its own cheap political purposes.

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