Time for Archer to get serious on electoral and donation reform

Tasmanian Labor

The Gutwein Liberal Government needs to provide a guarantee that it is finally listening and will take seriously the responses to its proposed electoral and donation reform in Tasmania.

Shadow Attorney-General Ella Haddad said the government and Attorney-General Elise Archer now had before them a range of submissions, including from Labor, which are designed to make electoral funding and donations more transparent and give Tasmanians confidence that laws are necessarily tough.

“We welcome the fact that the government has finally reached the point – after years of lobbying from Labor – that they have released the draft Electoral Disclosure and Funding Bill,” Ms Haddad said.

“But the fact is this draft bill does not go far enough and more ambitious targets are needed so Tasmania can finally shake the label of having the weakest laws in the country.

“Ms Archer has said she will read the submissions but she has given no similar guarantee that she will take on board the type of tough reform that is required.

“In the past that fact that the current laws are simply not fair and discourage openness and transparency has led to unhealthy election spending and a genuine lack of a level playing field.”

Under Labor’s proposed amendments to the Bill, the amount of donations to political parties would no longer be shrouded in secrecy, donations would be disclosed monthly and spending caps would be introduced for Lower House elections.

Ms Haddad said Labor’s submission contained important amendments, including:

  • Lowering the disclosure threshold for political donations from the government’s suggested $5,000 to $1,000
  • Introducing spending caps for candidates and parties for House of Assembly elections
  • Reducing the timeframe for disclosure of donations outside of an election period from the Bill’s suggested six months to one month
  • Keeping donation disclosures publicly available for at least the full period of a Parliamentary term, rather than the currently proposed six months

“Labor’s significant, important amendments need to be addressed before this Bill reaches the floor of the Parliament.

“We need to make a genuine effort to restore public confidence in the political process in this state and establish laws which will make elections a battle of ideas, not a battle of bank accounts.

“Running for Parliament should be something available to anyone who aspires to office, not limited to the wealthy.”

Ella Haddad MP

Shadow Attorney-General

/Public Release. View in full here.