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Thursday, 15 November 2018
Page: 8263


Senator HANSON (Queensland) (11:39): By all means, changes need to be made to the Electoral Legislation Amendment (Electoral Funding and Disclosure Reform) Bill 2017. Let's let the public know what electoral funding is. When an election is held, any party or candidate that receives over four per cent of the vote can apply for electoral funding. Federally, you do not have to disclose how much you've spent on your campaign. It is paid for by public funding, which is the taxpayer. At present, for the next election, the funding will be $2.75 per vote on the No. 1 vote. So whoever gets your No. 1 vote will get $2.75 if they get over four per cent of the vote. This was introduced in 1983 under the Hawke government. At that time there was reimbursement of 60c per vote in the House of Representatives and 30c per vote in the Senate of the amount the candidate or party spent on their election campaign—up to a certain amount.

By all means, electoral funding has helped political parties. But my understanding was that it was introduced to actually stop donations coming in. There was no bribery and you weren't corrupted by organisations, so politicians could make decisions that were not based on who gave them donations. Over the years, we've seen huge amounts of money come from organisations to the major political parties. Smaller parties like One Nation rely on membership fees or small donations from people that help us because they believe in our policies. So I can assure you that no big organisations donate to One Nation. It has been through hard work—having fish and chips at meetings or sausage sizzles. We find the big organisations donate to the major political parties. GetUp! and the unions back Labor and fund their campaigns. A lot of people don't know that the unions don't pay tax. Unions are tax-free organisations, so they're not taxed. They donate millions of dollars to the Labor Party to get their mates elected in this place. Then you have GetUp! as well, an organisation that is supposed to be a charity. They fund Labor as well. Really, they should be taxed and we should watch where their donations go. This measure is really going to rein people in. I also think that overseas money should not have an influence on our political scene, so I believe that foreign donations should be totally stopped. I do agree with that.

I notice that Senator Waters spoke about donations from the big organisations, but they say the donations they get are for the hip pocket for their businesses and the money they are going to make. In a lot of cases, the legislation that is made is not about what goes in their hip pocket; it's about saving jobs as well. This is where they say it's coming from the mining organisations. Let me go back to Adani. They will be indirectly employing about 10,000 people in the set-up of that mine and, on an ongoing basis, the mine will employ approximately 1,460 people. Queensland relies on mining for a lot of its budget. About $55 billion a year comes into the coffers of the Queensland state government through mining, so the royalties from mining are very important to Queensland. Mining is also very important because coking coal is used to make the best steel in the world, so we do need mining if we are going to have good-quality steel.

But it's okay for the Greens to receive their donations. Their donations are basically going to shut down mining—jobs gone; they want to shut down fishing—more jobs gone; and they want to shut down farming. So they're quite happy to take their donations to shut down these organisations. It's all right for them to get their electoral funding, but it's not all right for the other side. Let's be fair about this. I quite agree that, with donations that come into political parties, it's like you've got your cake and you want to eat it as well—you have political donations and then electoral funding.

The PRESIDENT: Senator Hanson, it being 11.45, you will be in continuation when the debate resumes.