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Tuesday, 3 February 2009
Page: 112

Senator FIELDING (Leader of the Family First Party) (6:17 PM) —I move Family First amendment (1) on sheet 5708:

(1)    Page 9 (after line 25), at the end of the bill, add:

   Schedule 2—Amendment of the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918

1  After section 294


   294A  Limit on election funding

                  In section 294, the entitlement to election funding is limited to a maximum of $10,000,000.

This puts a limit on election funding to a maximum of $10 million, which will mean that the amount any political party can receive back from taxpayers is capped at $10 million. To try to put this in simple terms, at the last federal election the ALP got $22 million from taxpayers. The Liberal Party got $18 million of taxpayers’ money. That is a heck of a lot of money. Taxpayers were getting excessive television campaigns and mail in letterboxes and they were sick and tired of it. If they knew they were footing the bill for it, I think that they would be saying that there was something wrong with the system.

So Family First is saying: let us put a cap of $10 million maximum on the election funding that taxpayers have to put in for any political party. That will peg back the $22 million that Labor got back from taxpayers. So, there is a $12 million saving there. For the Liberal Party, at $18 million, there is $8 million saved there. So basically there is $20 million saved. Think of what $20 million taxpayers’ money could be spent on other than excessive television ads and mail drops. That $20 million could be spent on all sorts of things for the community, and I went through those in my speech before. That money could be spent on 57 dedicated breast cancer nurses. That is what $20 million would get. Rather than seeing more mail stuffed into our letterboxes and more advertising shoved down our throats on television, $20 million could be used for investing in more teachers or it could help the poor. I think that most Australians would say that that sounds a better deal than spending $20 million more of their funds when political parties are really spending enough as it is. I urge all senators to support the Family First amendment to limit to $10 million election funding to any political party by the public purse.