Thursday, 6 December 2018
Electoral Legislation Amendment (Electoral Funding and Disclosure Reform) Bill 2018; Reference to Committee
At the request of Senator Cormann, I move:
(1) That the following matter be referred to the Joint Standing Committee on Electoral Matters established in the next Parliament, for commencement of a review on the second anniversary of the Royal Assent for the Electoral Legislation Amendment (Electoral Funding and Disclosure Reform) Act 2018:
A review of the operation of the amendments, dealing with foreign donations and related matters, made by the Electoral Legislation Amendment (Electoral Funding and Disclosure Reform) Act 2018.
The review will consider:
(a) the operation of the amendments during the federal election immediately following the enactment of the amendments;
(b) the clarity of public guidance products issued by regulators;
(c) how the Bill's objectives can continue to be achieved in the most effective way while minimising red tape; and
(d) any impacts from the amendments that are relevant to issue-based advocacy.
(2) That the committee report within 6 months of receiving the reference.
I seek leave to make a short statement.
The government agrees to initiate a post-implementation review of the recently enacted ban on foreign electoral donations as part of discussions to secure passage of the bill that gave effect to this ban. The wording of the proposed referral was agreed by members of the Joint Standing Committee on Electoral Matters last week. This motion would have the effect of requiring a post-implementation review to occur during the next parliament and requires JSCEM to have particular regard to how the new rules operate in practice during the 2019 federal election. Because this review commences after the next election, the referral to JSCEM is by way of a Senate motion that has continuing effect into the next parliament.
The opposition will be supporting this motion. This motion represents a key commitment secured by Labor's shadow special minister of state, Senator Farrell, during the recent debate on foreign donations legislation. This motion will guarantee a review of the practical application of the recently passed foreign donation laws, ensuring advocacy work is protected and the laws operate as intended. The opposition thanks the government for upholding this commitment, and we commend the referral to the Senate.
This motion makes no provision for participating members on the Joint Standing Committee on Electoral Matters. Previous inquiries have had to have amendments put through both houses subsequently to allow participating members. I would ask the Senate that that factor be addressed now, rather than coming back to it later.