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Wednesday, 3 May 1961

Mr McCOLM (Bowman) (5:27 AM) . - Mr. Chairman, I think that the suggestion that the amendment would brine the limits on election expenses to realistic levels is quite ridiculous, as has been indicated by the Deputy Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Whitlam) himself. As the wording of form G stands at present - I am: relying on my memory, but I am pretty certain that I am right - it requires a candidate to affirm three things: That he himself has not spent in excess of the £2:50 permitted; that, to his knowledge, more than this amount has not been spent or authorized by him to be spent; and that more than the permissible amount has not been spent in his interest. The important part, I think, is the question of expenditure having been made in his interest in excess of the permissible limit. Any money spent by an organization in an election campaign must have been spent, either directly or indirectly, in the interest of a candidate endorsed by that organization. That is where the whole thing becomes completely and utterly ridiculous. The limits of £500 for candidates for the House of Representatives and £750 for candidates for the Senate, which are suggested by the Opposition, are completely unrealistic.

I suggest that we should examine the wording of the return that candidates sign and see whether we cannot alter the words in order to provide that a candidate is required to state that more than the specified amount has not been spent by him or directly authorized by him to be spent. I think that, if we did that, limits of £500 or £1,000 would meet the case. On only one occasion in five elections have we in the Bowman electorate felt that we stayed within the letter of the law. On that occasion, we spent only £247 10s. The wording of the return required of candidates is completely ridiculous in some respects, and I urge the Minister to examine the possibility of changing it to meet the needs of the situation.

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