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Thursday, 10 November 1983
Page: 2609

Mr STEELE HALL(5.54) —I had some difficulty in discussions in the Joint Select Committee on Electoral Reform about this matter. I sympathise with what the Government is trying to do and with the majority of members of the Committee who fear mischievous activity. A long time ago it seems now I was involved in another party.

Mr Scott —Many of them.

Mr STEELE HALL —No. My friend from Hindmarsh is incorrect in saying: 'Many of them'. I made a move that required selecting a name. Many names of course come to mind. I believe that Independent can mean something. I have never been a member of anything called an Independent party. However, I can sympathise with people who use that as a descriptive word. At this time I cannot support a move which extends the meaning of Independent to a party in this way. As the Chairman of the Committee knows, I have been uneasy from the beginning about this restriction. It seems to me that this amendment is further restrictive; in a sense it is a restriction of freedom. It is a protection for parties which exist . I get back to my general contention about the Commonwealth Electoral Legislation Amendment Bill. There are many admirable aspects to it and I am pleased to have been part of the information process that went into the Bill. However, I regret the general strength that is given to parties at the expense of individuals or to existing parties at the expense of those that may emerge later. For instance, I refer to the requirement to get 4 per cent of the vote in order to get public funding. In many ways I regret all those things, but I cannot agree with this amendment and I will vote against it.