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Tuesday, 3 February 2009
Page: 115

Senator FIELDING (Leader of the Family First Party) (6:29 PM) —I think it is very important for those people who are following this debate to fully understand there is only one political party in Australia that actually thinks it is an absolute rort and a joke for tax deductibility status to be given to political parties. No other party here today wants to stand against that. In fact they are all tiptoeing around the issue. This particular amendment is also dealing with another rort. I will read out again this material from the Australian Electoral Commission’s website. It is under ‘Public funding paid’. In 2007 in public funding $22 million of taxpayers’ hard-earned money was paid to the Labor Party; $18 million was paid to the Liberal Party. How much is enough? Well, I think $10 million is enough for any political party to put across their point of view. We are turning people off by advertising so much and putting out letterbox drops during an election campaign. It is too much. We could save $20 million. We could use that $20 million of taxpayers’ money which could be saved by capping and stopping any political party from getting more than $10 million from the public purse. We could spend that $20 million on teachers and nurses and on all sorts of things.

This rort should not continue. I make it clear to the rest of the senators that Family First will oppose this bill for the two reasons that tax deductibility should not be there for any political party and that we should be capping the public funding of campaigns according to some reasonable position. So I am making it clear that Family First will vote against this bill. If the coalition members can muster themselves into this chamber, this bill will be defeated tonight for the reason that we have got to stop this rort now.

Question negatived.

Bill, as amended, agreed to.

Bill reported with amendments; report adopted.