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Thursday, 10 November 1983
Page: 2629

Dr KLUGMAN(8.37) —I wish to read a couple of points into the record. The first is that the submission from the Australian Labor Party was that 20 per cent of the amount allocated be for constituency campaigns. The Joint Select Committee on Electoral Reform tossed this question around at great length. Paragraph 9.35 on page 157 of its report reads as follows:

9.35 The Committee discussed the issue of separate constituency funding for House of Representatives candidates. It was agrued before the Committee that the only way to ensure suitable support for each local campaign was to provide some measure of funding to constituencies, Even safe seats are entitled to an energetic campaign.

The next paragraph reads:

9.36 The majority of the Committee considered that campaign strategies regularly called for campaign emphasis over the group of seats or in dispersed key seats and that decisions on where money was best spent should be left to party organisations. The majority of the Committee were also of the view that providing funding at the central State party level only would make for the most simple accountability system.

The majority of the Committee were really persuaded on the basis of simplicity; it did not have a Labor Party versus Liberal Party or a similar attitude. Different people put forward different points of view, as honourable members will know from reading the report. In fact the Labor Party originally suggested what the Opposition is suggesting now, but we came to the conclusion that it would be simpler, instead of the funding authority having to deal with masses of submissions, for it to receive just a few submissions and to leave it up to the parties to get the submissions for the claims to show how much had been spent. The funding authority would then pass the money on to the party. In a more general sense, I completely agree with what the honourable member for Port Adelaide (Mr Young) said. The huge increase in expenditure in the last few years is one of the things that the Committee is now to look at. We have already advertised for submissions to see how we can deal with it. I think it would be silly to pretend that the Committee felt that it would solve many of the problems associated with electoral campaigns just with additional money.

Amendment negatived.