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Tax deductibility for political donations: Labor left on its own.

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Senator the Hon Michael Ronaldson Shadow Special Minister of State

Tax deductibility for political donations - labor left on its own

''Today's evidence in the hearing of the Joint Standing Committee on Electoral Matters has made it clear that Labor must abandon its attempt to ram through its totally selfserving tax deductibility for political donations changes via the Tax Laws Amendment (2008 Measures No 1) Bill 2008,'' said Shadow Special Minister of State, Senator Michael Ronaldson.

''In today's evidence, all witnesses apart from the Labor Party witness, effectively called on the Rudd Government to withdraw its controversial tax deductibility provisions from the remainder of the Bill.

''It is simply untenable for this charade to continue any longer.

''As stated on many previous occasions, the Coalition supports the balance of the Bill and the rest of the Bill should be passed without undue delay. But this controversial aspect known as Schedule 1 needs to be considered as a separate issue.

''It is plainly ridiculous, as confirmed by evidence given to the Committee today, that this tax deductibility provision can be considered in isolation from all other aspects of possible campaign finance reform.

''The Coalition accepts the advice of one of today's witnesses, Associate Professor Graeme Orr of the University of Queensland that this issue be included as part of a wider review: We particularly recommend that deductibility be not abolished altogether until the government and/or JSCEM settles proposals for any revamping of the broader system of political finance.

''Kevin Rudd likes to wax lyrical about openness and accountability in government. The Coalition has proposed a comprehensive terms of reference for campaign finance reform. The more Mr Rudd runs from this comprehensive enquiry the more his commentary on this matter sounds like mere weasel words. Transparency, openness and accountability in government, this is not,'' said Senator Ronaldson.