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Thursday, 24 June 2010
Page: 4315

Senator FIELDING (Leader of the Family First Party) (12:20 PM) —We have got to remember where the bill got some of its genesis—that is, some outrageous behaviour by the Labor Party in South Australia. It seems odd that the Labor Party would allow—I would even suggest endorse—Labor Party workers to dress up and deceive people and make themselves look like Family First workers, handing out material, clearly being misleading, clearly being deceptive, and to get away with it. But not only that: quite clearly, from the media reports, there were people who knew about this. But at least some candidates had the decency to say, ‘No; I won’t go to such dirty politics. I won’t stoop that low and try to deceive electors.’

It is very important that in Australia we have trust in our electoral system. When you think about it, to make someone look like someone else and deceive them, and hand out material making it look like it was from some other party, is just totally wrong. It could have happened to any of us. It happened to Family First. The Labor Party was dressing up as Family First workers and handing out material making it look like it was Family First material.

I understand that this bill does make some attempt to address the issue but it does not stop the issue. In the commercial world if you were someone from Pepsi and you dressed up as someone from Coke and tried to deceive people, you would be sued. It is outrageous to think that this could happen. What is even more outrageous is that Kevin Rudd would not come out publicly and rule it out at this election. I am wondering whether the new Prime Minister will come out today and rule out not using such dirty tactics at the next federal election. This is very important.

What is being put forward by Senator Xenophon does attempt to address that issue in his home state. We are worried that, in desperation, this will occur again. I think the new Prime Minister should come out and say that she will ensure her party will not stoop so low as to use these dirty tricks during an election campaign. I will be supporting these amendments.