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Thursday, 15 November 2018
Page: 8417

Senator FARRELL (South AustraliaDeputy Leader of the Opposition in the Senate) (17:22): The opposition will be opposing these amendments by the Australian Greens. Unfortunately, the issues caused by the Greens amendments outweigh any benefit. The Greens amendments seek to place obligations on donors but not on recipients of donations, a clear loophole allowing those receiving donations to flout the law. Most troubling, the Greens amendments seek to delay the commencement of this legislation until after the next federal election, allowing foreign donations to flow into the coffers of political parties for the next poll. Labor has longstanding policy for electoral reform, including lower disclosure and shorter disclosure times. However, the Greens again are seeking to conflate, with a series of poorly drafted changes, the issues that Labor has been negotiating with our trusted charities for close to a year.

The substantive issue here is a foreign donations ban. Labor has sought to ensure that third parties and charities are protected from the government's overreach without creating further issues within the Commonwealth Electoral Act. Labor believes the issues surrounding disclosure require further consideration and consultation with those third parties that we have worked so hard to protect. Labor, as a party of government and as a party who wants the system to work, is committed to addressing these matters constructively and will always do so.