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Tuesday, 3 February 2009
Page: 114

Senator CONROY (Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy) (6:27 PM) —I indicate that we do not support Senator Fielding’s amendment. The government are committed to introducing fundamental reform of Australia’s political finance regime. This reform process is progressing, with the first electoral green paper on donations, funding and expenditure, which was released on 17 December 2008. That paper looks at all issues surrounding how political candidates and parties are funded, including whether donations should be banned or capped and what level of public funding is appropriate. The question of public funding is more appropriately dealt with through that process.

Given his interest in the issue, the government would encourage Senator Fielding of Family First to make a submission on the green paper by the 23 February deadline. The government will be consulting with Senator Fielding, as well as the opposition and other parties and senators, as it develops its response to the political consultation.