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It's simply a bad bill.



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Australian Democrats Press Releases

Senator Andrew Murray Democrats Senator for Western Australia Australian Democrats spokesperson for Electoral Matters & Public Administration

Dated: 16 June 2006

Press Release Number: awxggurd Portfolio: Electoral Matters & Public Administration

More from Senator Andrew Murray on Electoral Matters & Public Administration

IT'S SIMPLY A BAD BILL

An assault on Australias electoral integrity and representative democracy will occur when Coalition control results in the Electoral and Referendum Amendment (Electoral Integrity and Other Measures) Bill 2006 being passed by the Senate. This bad Bill blatantly seeks to advantage the Coalition," Democrats Electoral Matters spokesperson Senator Murray stated. It is yet another appalling outcome of Coalition control of the Senate. Not only will it undermine Australias proud history of leading the world in enfranchisement, it will also weaken funding and disclosure rules and reduce accountability. The proposed early closure of electoral rolls will end 66 years of convention whereby people had sufficient time to either register to vote or to change their details after an election is called. Thousands of Australians will actually be denied one of their most fundamental human rights, the right to vote. People serving a prison term often those whose personal histories are marred by disadvantage will become disenfranchised. The new laws also do nothing to address the worrying perception of the moneyed buying access or policy favours. Instead, they will make it easier for companies and individuals to make multiple donations in secret to political parties. The Australian Democrats will seek to amend this bad Bill through provisions to control multiple donations and to improve annual reporting returns. We will also take this opportunity to move amendments to prohibit foreign donations and loans. Unmistakably, our position is that there should be no foreign influence whatsoever in our domestic politics. "This Bill is a big test for Labor. In 1984 they reformed electoral laws to ensure much greater integrity. What integrity measures will they move, and will they yet again vote against the Democrats accountability and integrity proposals? "Labor cannot win the 2007 election just on IR. They have to show they have more integrity and will be more accountable than the Coalition," Senator Murray concluded.