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Thursday, 10 November 1983
Page: 2627

Mr BEAZLEY (Minister for Aviation and Special Minister of State)(8.20) —I move:

(18) Clause 113, page 139, line 5, insert '(whether or not incurred during the election period)' after 'campaign'.

It was always the Government's intention that this clause should permit the interpretation now to be specifically written into it. However, there is the possibility that some disputation might arise as to precisely what is meant here in what may be claimed by a candidate, and ultimately a political party, in seeking the basis for ultimately gaining that amount of public funding to which their percentage of the vote entitles them. The legislation refers throughout to an 'election period', which basically extends from the issuing of the writs until polling day. Whilst the election period is not regarded as the campaign for the purpose of the legislation, we had concern that it might be so regarded. Of course, as all honourable members would understand, legitimate election expenditure begins considerably in advance of the issuing of the writs. For that reason we decided that this object of disputation and difficulty for the political parties and candidates who are obliged to place before the Electoral Commission details of their expenditure in order to receive the entitlement to which their percentage of votes polled entitles them should be spelled out clearly. Whilst the provision overall may be controversial, I do not think this proposed amendment to it is.

Amendment agreed to.