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Monday, 8 October 1984
Page: 1793


Dr KLUGMAN —My question is directed to the Special Minister of State and concerns the new legislation dealing with the disclosure of funds for Federal election campaigns. Has the Minister's attention been drawn to the proposed debate in Wagga Wagga, for which television rights will be sold, involving the Leader of the Opposition, supporting the honourable member for Farrer, and the Leader of the National Party of Australia, supporting the honourable member for Hume, each comparing his and his protege's sincerity and honesty with that of the other coalition partner? Will the income from this television special have to be reported? Will the Minister also ensure that his colleague the Minister for Communications will look into this debate from the point of view of portraying current politics as soap opera, which is currently prohibited?


Mr YOUNG —In replying to the honourable member for Prospect let me say that this proposed debate between the honourable member for Farrer and the honourable member for Hume would hardly attract the audience that the Mondale-Reagan debate will probably get tonight. Nonetheless, now that the redistribution has been finished by the independent Australian Electoral Commission, much to the satisfaction of all members of the Parliament, including the honourable member for Denison and the honourable member for Forrest, who was very pleased with the outcome--


Mr Steedman —I was not.


Mr YOUNG —And the honourable member for Casey. What the Australian people can be pleased about is that any political party or coalition of parties which now gets 50 per cent plus one per of the votes will become the government of Australia, and we will not have the unsavoury circumstances that existed over the past 20 years when the Liberal-Country Party managed to govern with a minority of votes. That will not happen again. Now that the redistribution has been concluded--


Mr Ian Cameron —Why do you not come out to Maranoa and find out what it is like there?


Mr YOUNG —The Cunnamulla kid! The honourable member did quite well out of the redistribution. We cannot do much out there, can we? There are a number of people in the Opposition with whom this Government does not want--


Mr Howard —There is a loyalty.


Mr Sinclair —How is David Combe feeling?


Mr SPEAKER —Order! The Deputy Leader of the Opposition and the Leader of the National Party will cease interjecting.


Mr YOUNG —It is an interesting day to talk about the loyalty of one person to another. How about the loyalty of the honourable member for Bennelong to the honourable member for Kooyong? There is a loyalty gap for you! If honourable members want to know why the honourable member for Bennelong put out a paper yesterday on flat rate tax, it was just to help Andrew in the election! Andrew will have to run around saying : 'We will not put a 30 per cent tax on'. The old submarine, the honourable member for Bennelong, is just trying to help his Leader along!


Mr SPEAKER —Order! I remind the Leader of the House that one issue goes to answers at Question Time and that is the matter of relevance. I think the question is on election proceedings and not on the Budget.


Mr YOUNG —I can tell honourable members that if people are taking up a collection at this Wagga debate and the Leader of the National Party is there, they had better be careful about whom they pass the cheque to, because I know who will win that one. The election laws now provide that anybody making a donation of over $200 to a candidate or over $1,000 to a political party will have his name put on a register, and that name will be available for everybody in Australia to see and to understand the relationship between the donor and the political party. It is something that should have been adopted in Australia a long time ago, as it has been adopted in most Western democracies.

If people in Wagga Wagga make a donation of that size to a debate between the honourable member for Hume and the honourable member for Farrer-I very much doubt that they will; I could not see anyone paying 200 bucks for that-they will have to put their names in the register to comply with the laws now set out in the Commonwealth Electoral Act.