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Thursday, 21 June 2007
Page: 160

Senator SHERRY (6:19 PM) —In response to the amendment moved by Senator Murray on behalf of the Democrats, the Labor Party will not be supporting this amendment. I think, as Senator Murray referred to his second reading stage contribution, he has moved the same amendments in other legislation. Labor will not be supporting the amendment for a couple of reasons. Whilst Labor has always argued for transparency for political donations, businesses do have their own internal processes in place to decide how their money is spent in the best interests of their shareholders, just as trade unions do. We have to have some eye to practicality in terms of the decision-making process when considering how best to deal with the issue of political donations.

I think Senator Colbeck was at the Liberal Party Federal Council and he can outline to us what the approach of the Liberal Party is on this particular matter. I expect they will be opposing the amendment. I have not read the Liberal Party council resolution so I do not know the precise details, but on the word of Senator Murray it would appear to be inconsistent with the resolution they passed, supported by the Prime Minister. I am sure that Senator Colbeck can outline what I suspect is the government’s opposition to this particular amendment.

Labor will not be supporting it. If any changes are required in this area we have various laws that specifically deal with electoral process and political donations in this country and that would be the appropriate place to move such an amendment if it were required after review of the particular body of legislation that governs and the determines electoral law in this country. So Labor will not be supporting the amendment.