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Thursday, 15 November 2018
Page: 8427


Senator CORMANN (Western AustraliaMinister for Finance and the Public Service, Vice-President of the Executive Council and Leader of the Government in the Senate) (18:05): The committee has already voted on the substance of the issue that Senator Waters is raising. Greens amendment (7) on sheet 8546 revised is in fact redundant, because it is a consequential amendment in relation to some previous amendments that the committee has already voted to reject. So it should, in fact, have been withdrawn because it can't actually have the effect that Senator Waters is advising the chamber it would have.

Even if this amendment were to apply in the context of the government's bill, it also introduces imprisonment for gifting over the disclosure threshold, which is explicitly contrary to what the cross-party Joint Standing Committee on Electoral Matters, which considered these matters carefully, recommended. So the Greens are proposing to introduce imprisonment offences. But, as I've indicated, this amendment is, in fact, redundant because it is consequential to some amendments that have already been rejected by the committee.

This amendment also lets political campaigners off the hook. Again, I'm not quite sure why the Greens political party takes the view that political campaigners spending substantial amounts of money on political campaigns in the lead-up to elections, seeking to influence election outcomes, should not be subject to the same disclosure, transparency and reporting requirements and the same ban on foreign political donations as other political actors, including political parties. The government's view is that they should apply on the same basis or a similar basis to all those actors.