NSW Liberals want an Electoral Finance Act

Written By: - Date published: 3:43 pm, February 25th, 2008 - 33 comments
Categories: election funding, International - Tags: ,

In an ironic twist, the Sydney Morning Herald reports today that the New South Wales Liberal Party has called for reform of campaign financing in Australia’s largest state, citing New Zealand’s Electoral Finance Act as an example of what they would like to see – limits on donations, limits on expenditure, and restrictions on third parties.

This is in response to revelations of contributions to the state ALP from a developer who has been involved in a corruption scandal in Wollongong.

The Sydney Morning Herald is not reporting this call as an attack on freedom of speech, unlike its namesake in New Zealand. It calls for an end to the rotten culture of hidden donations.

The Sydney Herald also reports that the Federal Government is considering reform of the donations and expenditure laws in Australia.

It’s because they have gained so much benefit from donations hidden through trusts that the National Party, unlike their bedfellows in Australia, are so opposed to the Electoral Finance Act.

33 comments on “NSW Liberals want an Electoral Finance Act”

  1. higherstandard 1

    John A

    You seem to make the mistake that it’s just the National party that’s opposed to the Electoral finance Act.

    Oh and by the way how about that Owen Glenn eh

  2. Matthew Pilott 2

    higherstandard – shame your name is a polar opposite to your posting abilities 8)

    But have a punt at telling me where John A makes the mistake of assuming that “just the National party that’s opposed to the Electoral finance Act”, there’s a good fellow.

    How about those big trust donations eh? Bet you wouldn’t mind a few more of them right? Bugger…

  3. IrishBill 3

    I see we have another troll.

    [lprent: yep. higherstandard is showing typical troll behaviour]

  4. Matthew Pilott 4

    I am not! 😉

  5. Beg you pardon ‘don’t make the mistake that just the National party and the media are opposed to the electoral finance act.’

    I’d love any big trust donations they’d be far better in my pocket than the National party’s.

  6. Hey TDS, I see you’ve got a new name (and I’m assuming a new IP address?). I would have thought the research unit could organise another proxy quicker than that. I would have suggested a change in style as well but I guess you’re not smart enough to manage that. Here’s some advice bro, you should’ve tried to drop the sarcasm and the textbook misdirection. Say hello to Francis for me…

  7. Oh and TDS? I had a suspicion you were running in tandem with ELV. The fact you’ve returned on the same day he’s been banned tends to lend weight to this. I guess that means National has sprung for two trolls – what’s the market rate on that, bro?

  8. higherstandard 8

    Hate to ruin your party Rob but I’ve no idea who this TDS chap is.

  9. Ok TDS, if you want to play it that way.

  10. higherstandard 10

    Rob I suggest you check into the clinic I am not and have never been TDS,ELV or this troll chap you’re on about

  11. Tane 11

    Sod, best leave higherstandard alone. I’ve had my suspicions too but I’m inclined to take the guy at his word for now.

  12. burt 12

    Clearly the NSW Liberals want a NZ style EFB because it will restrict third parties (like unions) from covertly spending $10m like they did to get Labor elected.

    It’s classic that the EPMU have been restricted by the EFB, especially since they were all for it. This is the price you pay for being partisan and just believing that everything “your party” says is correct and every policy or bill they put forward is pure and good.

    Talk about make fools of themselves – you guys must be soooo embarrassed.

  13. Daveo 13

    Burty boy- the Aussie unions were fully transparent, that figure came to light after unions revealed it themselves as the law requires. It’s a lot of money but what do you expect when their union movement is under threat of annihilation by Howard? As a long time union member who remembers the ECA I wish the unions here had put up half the fight the ACTU has in Australia.

  14. burt 14

    Daveo

    As a long time union member who remembers the ECA you must be spewing that the unions here were so dim (so partisan, so trusting of the Labour party muppets, so distrusting of the objections from the opposition or whatever the reason was they stuck their heads up their own asses rather then get good advice) that they allowed the EFB to be passed with clauses that stop the unions from campaigning effectively.

    Besides how can you call it fully transparent when the details of their massive spending don’t come out till after the election? To call it transparent voters would have needed to know before they voted.

  15. Daveo 15

    Burt we’ll see if it comes to pass. From here it looks like DPF and National have beaten it up out of nothing to embarrass Labour but I doubt they have much of a case. Even if they do catch them it will just show the EFA needs amending. I assume National will support this wholeheartedly to avoid looking like complete hypocrites.

    I do think it’s best if parties have to disclose donations before the election but obviously over there they do it after. That aside it’s no secret to anyone that the ACTU was running a huge campaign against Howard and ‘work choices’. Members were levied a dollar a week (I think) and everyone knew the campaign was costing millions. There was no attempt to hide donations like the Brethren and other right wing backers did in both NZ and Australia. It was a bloody well run campaign and I’m glad they won.

  16. burt 16

    Daveo

    It’s not just DPF and National. Hooton has a bit to say on Sunday Star Times.

    MATTHEW HOOTON: Electoral act catches union

    Before anybody rants off that he’s a right wing nutjob it might pay to read the article.

    The Engineering, Printing and Manufacturing Union is an important institution in our society.

    He goes on;

    The EPMU is also an affiliate of the New Zealand Labour Party. According to Labour’s constitution, this makes it an integral part of the party’s organisation, alongside its local electorate committees, branches and national conference. Last election year, it was Labour’s third-largest declared funder after Owen Glenn and the Auckland casino.

  17. burt 17

    Daveo

    Hooton also seems to have the same opinion as you.

    There is really only one solution to this. The law needs to return to parliament to be amended to make clear that the New Zealand trade union movement is allowed to be properly involved in our elections. Unlike the Labour Party, we shouldn’t be afraid we might be corrupted if the EPMU or anyone else drops pamphlets in our letterboxes.

    Do you agree with him that EPMU or anyone else’s pamphlets won’t corrupt us?

  18. burt 18

    rOb

    Attacking the people who have the opinions… How about Tane’s opinion?

    I can assure you the entire trade union movement is having a good laugh at Farrar’s stupidity. His objection is a joke and will serve only to undermine his credibility even further.

    As stated here: http://www.kiwiblog.co.nz/2008/02/epmus_third_party_eligibility.html#comment-408879

    Are you backing Tane or Hooton ? I’m backing Hooton.

  19. r0b 19

    It’s not just DPF and National. Hooton has a bit to say

    Ahh Burt, thanks for the larf. DPF, Hooton and National. As different as three legs of a stool.

  20. The Sydney Morning Herald is not reporting this call as an attack on freedom of speech, unlike its namesake in New Zealand.

    Perhaps that’s because, unlike in our case, the NSW govt hasn’t gone ahead and unilaterally introduced an EFB carefully crafted to knacker the opposition’s fundraising while leaving the govt’s fundraising relatively unscathed. Just a thought…

  21. Tane 21

    Burt, Hooton is a professional spin doctor and a self-declared ‘neocon ultra’, so I’ll take anything he says with a grain of salt. He’s not being even-handed, he’s trying to create an illusion of balance to his National Party talking points.

  22. r0b 22

    Attacking the people who have the opinions

    That’s a little rich coming from you Burt, since you Helen Clark a “lying bitch”.

    Pointing out that three points of view are one and the same is not attacking anything. Why would you think that it was?

  23. burt 23

    rOb

    That’s a little rich coming from you Burt, since you Helen Clark a “lying bitch’.

    So you would rather attack me for something I said in an entirely different context than answer the simple question: Are you backing Tane or Hooton ? Are you to partisan to agree that DPF & Hooton might have a point but are also too scared to back Tane because you might look like a fool?

    Tane

    Do you still think the entire union movement are laughing at DPF or do you think DPF just might have been correct about the EPMU ?

  24. Tane 24

    Burt, I was just reporting what I’ve heard around the traps, but yeah, I reckon Davey’s case is pretty flimsy and is more of a PR stunt than anything else. Having said that I’m no lawyer, but then again neither is Davey,

  25. burt 25

    rOb

    This will be interesting. I’ll happily admit I was suckered in by DPF & Hooton if you are correct.

    BTW I don’t vote National, and I don’t vote Labour. I’m an X-Labour voter. If Labour hack the party around a bit, stop using policy as an election year play thing, learn that it’s not all about them – then the local labour franchise may even get my vote back one day.

    What have I got against partisans? They defend the indefensible and are usually very personally offensive in their dissertations. Either side, it’s all the same – drones for the party. Note I had a tipping point where I abandoned Labour, partisans don’t have that safety valve.

  26. r0b 26

    So you would rather attack me for something I said in an entirely different context

    Attacking you Burt? You did that to yourself, I’m just reminding you of it.

    Are you backing Tane or Hooton ? Are you to partisan to agree that DPF & Hooton might have a point but are also too scared to back Tane because you might look like a fool?

    What have you got against partisans Burt? You’ve already admitted that you are a Nat partisan, only here to push a National good, Labour bad mantra.

    Oh, and Tane vs Hooton? I’ll take Tane thank you. Hooton is talking out of his arse. As usual. Hooton’s central point is:

    The commission must refuse third parties’ registration if they are “involved in the administration of the affairs of a [political] party”.

    He is misrepresenting the Act. The relevant clause reads as follows:

    The following are ineligible to be a third party:
    (a) a party (other than a non­contesting party):
    (b) a candidate:
    (c) a person whose name is specified in a party list […]
    (d) the financial agent of a party or a candidate:
    (e) each of the following persons or bodies:
    [… deleted for brevity…]
    (f) a person involved in the administration of—
    (i) the affairs of a party; or
    (ii) the affairs of a candidate in relation to his or her
    election campaign.

    The relevant part is clause (f) Burt. It means that a person involved in the administration of a party cannot register as a third party. Burt, the EMPU is not a person , it is an organisation. Compare with clause (e) re “persons or bodies” (the deleted text refers only to various crown CEOs or bodies).

    DPF, Hooton and the rest of the Kiwiblog right are liars Burt, and they twist the truth to make mischief. You fall for it time and time again. Wake up. Think for yourself.

  27. Matthew Pilott 27

    Burt, I think you must be feeling very disenfranchised if you don’t vote because parties use policy as an “election year plaything”.

    And that’s a non-partisan and honest (in its intentions) statement. All parties do as such, because voters can have short memories. The whole “what have you done for me lately mind-set.

    All parties are guilty of it because it’s how the system plays out.

    I respect that you’re unappreciative of the practice and I fundamentally disagree with it also, but if a party will do lots of things that I see as good once every three years, I’ll support them over one that does things I disagree with every three years!

    As I see it as a fundemantal flaw in Liberal Representative Democracy, I therefore see it as a choice between not voting at all, or voting for the best deal. In this case, Labour may be doing it (although this discounts the multitude of achievements they can claim over the past eight years. Sure, there’s policy now, but it’s not like they’ve done nothing for the last decade) but any incumbent will do the same.

    Finally – the perception of parties acting in this way is always blown out by the media, to the point where each and every election-year policy is referred to as a brime or election lolly scramble. It’s just not quite true.

  28. burt 28

    Matthew Pilott

    I guess this year is going to prove Dr. Cullen was serious when he said “an $8b surplus and no tax cuts – wots the connection?”. When he finally gets his orders and dishes em out with a dwindling surplus, a runaway dollar and rising interest rates he can at least say “Helen told me to do it”.

    The party is buggered, time to roll Helen and take a fresh chance at the election, beats sliding into a disgraceful election trashing. The only way Labour can come back is by giving itself a hideous hospital pass of lolly scramble policies and that’s simply not good for the country. Might be good for Labour till it all turns sour and National are called in to deliver “Mother of all budgets II”.

  29. r0b 29

    This will be interesting. I’ll happily admit I was suckered in by DPF & Hooton if you are correct.

    Good for you. The Act seems clear to me. Hooton might then go on to claim that any pair of party members can form an “organisation” (or each branch can register) to subvert the legislation, but I think this fails under clause (a) above, and also the intent of the law (which is the context within which law is interpreted).

    BTW I don’t vote National, and I don’t vote Labour. I’m an X-Labour voter. If Labour hack the party around a bit, stop using policy as an election year play thing, learn that it’s not all about them – then the local labour franchise may even get my vote back one day.

    Looks like we’re going to need it this time!

    What have I got against partisans? They defend the indefensible and are usually very personally offensive in their dissertations. Either side, it’s all the same – drones for the party. Note I had a tipping point where I abandoned Labour, partisans don’t have that safety valve.

    I’ve nothing against passive / defensive partisans who are simply loyal. Why not. (Not everyone immerses themselves in the issues as we do.) I’m pretty intolerant of active / aggressive partisans who go round (metaphorically) beating up on people and making mischief.

    I too have a tipping point. Had I been a party member in the late 80’s I would probably have left with The Alliance. But Labour is not within a million miles of my tipping point. They are a sound, productive government with policies that have been good for the majority of New Zealanders. I don’t deny that the electoral pendulum is swinging strongly against them, that’s a well known effect. I don’t deny that National partisans have been extremely good at beating up the illusion of scandal where none exists. But that changes nothing of the fundamentals, this has been a very good government for NZ, and it is worth my wholehearted support.

    Goodnight.

  30. Matthew Pilott 30

    Interesting comment – absolutely nothing to do with what I said, really. I suppose it’s an interesting theoretical application of a third-year election hand-out, but that’s streching it.

    Do you have anything to say regarding not voting based on parties’ largesse in their third year? Is there anyone you can vote for? I guess it will have to be one of the minor parties who never got the chance to spend up large (or be made to have the appearance of doing so) in election year.

    Do you ever ask yourself what a political party can actually do in the last year of an electoral cycle? They can do absolutely nothing, have no accusations of electoral bribery, and lose for doing nothing. They can also enact policy as they are supposed to, with all the accusations of electoral bribery and all.

    Which do you think is more useful? If the latter, then why get suckered in by the media selling it to you as electoral bribery? Think for yourself, man!

    Your talk of Labour is buggered, and they need to get rid of Helen and their only chance of winning is by promising huge handouts is a complete crock of shit Burt, and to be honest I would expect better from you. You’ve got quite a disconnect from reality if you think Labour would deliberately enact policies that are bad for the country and even more so if you think they would consider replacing Clark before the election.

  31. r0b 31

    Burt: The party is buggered

    Speaking as an active member Burt, you are as dead wrong as usual. The party has never been in better shape. Here’s Colin James writing in The Herald after last year’s Labour Party Conference:

    “A Martian visitor knowing the two main parties only by their annual conferences would have rated Labour well ahead. Labour’s was big, energetically explored issues and policies and sprouted young people and national diversity. National’s was tight, white and slight on debate.’

    http://www.colinjames.co.nz/herald/Herald_2007/Herald_column_07Nov20.htm

    The party is behind in the polls, for sure, but that’s a different matter entirely. The electoral pendulum swings, one day we’ll lose an election. Maybe the next one. Maybe not.

    And on a side note Burt, incurable partisans not only defend the indefensible, they also attack with rumours and lies. DPF and Hooton are incurable partisans, and I think you have to ask yourself if you are too.

  32. burt 32

    rOb

    And on a side note Burt, incurable partisans not only defend the indefensible, they also attack with rumours and lies. DPF and Hooton are incurable partisans, and I think you have to ask yourself if you are too.

    You seem to be missing the – ‘I don’t vote National, I’m an X-Labour voter’ thing. I said before “Note I had a tipping point where I abandoned Labour, partisans don’t have that safety valve.”

    Yet you still slur me as a partisan while you rant and rave about how good Labour are. You said “Had I been a party member in the late 80’s I would probably have left with The Alliance.” – well golly, the party would need to become the ACT party again and then you would “probably” abandon them….

    Another thing you seem to be missing is that the conditions of the 80’s are around us again. People were getting big pay rises, interest rates are high, inflation is climbing, taxation is unfairly distributed, health services are getting more and more into disarray (1), mum and dad investor in the 80’s had shares, now it’s rental properties, productivity is stagnating, the currency is over valued and at least one export sector is booming creating new millionaires who are spending like crazy. Hey I guess the dairy farmers will snack up large on the mortgagee sales – As they say, it’s all fun until somebody looses and eye.

    (1) Speaking of health service disarray, DPF has a good thread here about the Hawke’s Bay DHB.

    Hawkes Bay DHB and Annette King

    The DHB is back in court today, meanwhile the standard only discuss what they think big bad nasty John Key said.

  33. r0b 33

    You seem to be missing the – ‘I don’t vote National, I’m an X-Labour voter’ thing.

    What does that have to do with anything? These days you are nothing but an anti-Labour attack partisan. You run with every line of nonsense promulgated by DPF. You are still banging on about retrospective validation when it’s been explained to you many times. Can you not even see what you are Burt?

    while you rant and rave about how good Labour are.

    Not entirely sure that I “rant and rave” Burt, but whatever you like.

    Another thing you seem to be missing is that the conditions of the 80’s are around us again.

    Oh bollocks. Muldoon left this country on the verge of collapse. That created the crisis which an odd minority in the Labour Lange government used to steer the party well off its traditional course. The similarities with today are zero to three significant digits.

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