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Thursday, 7 May 1987
Page: 2810


Mr HUMPHREYS —I direct my question to the Minister representing the Special Minister of State. What donations to political parties have to be disclosed under the Electoral Act?


Mr YOUNG —I thank the honourable member for Griffith once again for his question. I have been informed by the Special Minister of State that section 304 of the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918 requires all donations to a political party to be disclosed by the party, except those made on the condition that they be used for a purpose other than for an election. Whether donations designated for a non-election purpose and used on a mid-term campaign are disclosable depends on a number of factors, including the campaign's purpose, content and background. Perhaps for those honourable members who did not clearly understand that, I can explain it in a slightly better way. If one writes to the Queensland Branch of the Liberal Party for information, one gets back a little booklet about the Liberal Party, and look who is in the front-it is Andrew, and he is telling all those who are interested in the Liberal Party: `You are part of a Liberal resurgence which will shake every city, every State in this nation'. Well, I think he has done that-but not in the way that he intended. Further, there is a good quotation in this booklet. I am not too sure who the media commentator is, but we must have a yarn to him later. However, one media commentator called the Liberal Party `the best political machine in Australia'.

If booklets like this are produced in the administration of a political party, and one makes a donation, of course that does not have to be disclosed, because it is done in the administration. The problem that we have is in relation to the Liberals' tax policy: Will it be an administrative document or an election document? As yet, we have not found it. So, this morning I made some telephone calls. I telephoned John Elliott. He has seen it, but he hasn't got it. I rang John Valder, and he has seen it but he hasn't got it. I rang Jeff Kennett-on the phone in the car-and he told me in no uncertain fashion that he didn't have it! I then rang Andrew Hay, and was told that he did not have it. But he is a character, and he told me and reiterated that the Liberal Party ought to get rid of all its deadwood-to which I replied that that would cause a problem for us in the woodchip industry!

Moreover, we have the problems with the National Party of Australia in the disclosure of funds. We do not really have to worry about that because we had that beautiful occurrence prior to the 1984 election, when the Leader of the National Party, Mr Sinclair, made his policy speech in a club hall at Armidale-and the burglar alarm went off. So, we are doing everything we can to find this document: We want all honourable members and everybody in Australia to look around. It will be entitled `Post-coalition Liberal Party taxation policy'. If anyone can deliver it, the Prime Minister will give them two tickets to Crocodile Dundee. It might well be like the situation when it was pointed out to one of the evangelists in America that about $10m was missing out of his funds-he said that the devil must have got into the computer! I think that must be what has happened to the Liberal Party's taxation policy. I think that the devil must have got into the computer and taken it off, because no one seems to have it. Paul does not have it. I asked him. No one on this side has it. So we would be very pleased if, after having had a nice weekend, honourable members opposite could come back here on Monday and tell Australia what they are going to do for us in the field of taxation.