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Wednesday, 6 May 1987
Page: 2434

Senator COLLARD (Leader of the National Party of Australia)(6.47) —I would just like to say that the National Party of Australia will not be supporting the Australian Democrats' amendment. The economy is in a parlous state and we all recognise that. That is why we will be here for an extra week next week-so that this Government can bring down a mini-Budget to try to rein expenditure in a bit. That has already been discussed in a matter of public importance this afternoon.

Public funding is really all about a political party that cannot win sufficient public support to fund its election campaign getting its trotters and its snout in the public funding trough. That is what this debate on public funding is all about-pure and simple. In a bit of humbug Senator Macklin has given notice of a further amendment to be moved to the second reading motion. We will not be supporting that for this pure and simple reason: Why should we, or any other party that does not believe in public funding, be disadvantaged? That is really what it is all about. Why should we be disadvantaged when other political parties have got their snouts and trotters in the public trough, which gives them a tremendous advantage? Just because they cannot win public support out there, they go to the public trough. Just because we do not believe in that, why should we be disadvantaged?

It has always been on the public record-it was when we debated this matter before-that we are against that part of the Commonwealth Electoral Act and we are still against it. In our second reading amendment, which has been moved by my colleague Senator Sheil, we are putting on record that we are against that. I am also saying here and now that we will not be supporting the Democrat amendment.