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Wednesday, 3 May 1961

Mr FULTON (Leichhardt) . - Mr. Chairman, I have not spoken in the debate on this bill previously because there have been plenty of honorable members wishing to discuss its various aspects. I fully support the amendment, although I know quite well that the amounts proposed are not adequate and that increasing the limits imposed on election expenditure will not solve the problem with which we are faced. As the law stands at present, we have no alternative to increasing these limits. It is useless to hide our heads in the sand, like an ostrich. The important words are, as the honorable member for Bowman has said, " with my knowledge ". We all know that expenses, including advertising, cost more than £250. In my electorate, I have to travel many hundreds of miles in a motor car because there is no other form of transport. Therefore, I say that it is not realistic to say that expenses shall not exceed £250. In any case, how many members sign this form? I believe that it is signed only by new members such as myself, who do not know any better. To my knowledge, very few of the older members sign it.

Mr Thompson - I have signed one every year.

Mr FULTON - Then you are breaking the law, because you know in your heart that the expenses amount to more than £250. In order to try to overcome this difficulty, it is suggested that the limit should be raised to £500. I should be more prepared to sign the form if I had to state that my expenses had not exceeded £500. Travel by car costs me more than £250. and then there are the expenses of advertising.

This is something that we must face. Perhaps there is something in the suggestion of the honorable member for Bowman that the wording of the declaration should be altered so that nobody would be embarrassed or would sign a statement that he knew to be untrue. It is useless to shelter behind the words " with my knowledge ". We all know that the expenses are more than £250. We could not honestly sign the declaration, knowing in our hearts that the expenditure was more than £250. A sum of £500 would be nearer the mark and certainly would be more realistic than £250. I support the amendment moved by the Deputy Leader of the Opposition.

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