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Hodgman Keeps Tasmanians in the Dark on Political Donations

14 September 2016

Ms O'CONNOR question to PREMIER, Mr HODGMAN

In the latest return to the Tasmanian Electoral Commission the Tasmanian Liberal Party disclosed the names of just seven donors with total contributions of $145 000.  The source of the remaining $1 647 439 donated to your party in that year remains a complete mystery to the electorate - the people of Tasmania.  What return do donors to the Tasmanian Liberals receive on their investment?  How do those special wining and dining public policy forums work in which your ministers and donors join together?  Do you agree that far greater transparency around electoral donations is required and will you follow the Greens' lead and move to real-time disclosure of electoral donations?

ANSWER

Madam Speaker, I thank the member for Denison for her question and point to the very real mystery revealed not long ago.  It was kept hidden by the member for Denison, Ms O'Connor, in relation to a donation to the Greens' party.

Ms O'Connor interjecting.

Madam SPEAKER - Order.

Mr HODGMAN - It is galling for Ms O'Connor to make assertions about the Liberal Party when it was revealed that the Greens secretly accepted a further $130 000 donation during the federal election on the back of a $1.5 million donation to the Greens the election before that.  When the member for Denison undoubtedly asks again why on earth would you receive such donations unless you expect something in return, as she so often does, the Tasmanian people want to know what that donor received in return for those secret donations.

Members interjecting.

Madam SPEAKER - Order.  The House will come to order immediately.

Mr HODGMAN - The Legislative Council has recently held an inquiry into the Electoral Act.  It made 17 recommendations.  It did not recommend action on real-time disclosure of political donations or on the capping of donations.  We have no plan to do so either.  We believe that the current laws strike the right balance and any attempt to restrict donors would also, in our view, have to address the issue of third parties, such as unions or the GetUp! movement. 

Members interjecting.

Madam SPEAKER - Order.  I should not have to remind member that this is a time for questions.  If you have asked a question, no matter what the response you have obligation to listen to it.  I am not going to allow constant interjection on the Premier or any other minister who is attempting to answer the question.

Mr HODGMAN - Regarding the inquiry, the Government and the Liberal Party have provided a response to those matters so the member can acquaint herself as to our position on them.  All political parties in Tasmania must comply with disclosure obligations under the Commonwealth Electoral Act.  The Tasmanian division of the Liberal Party has strict internal party processes to ensure that disclosure obligations are fully complied with by all its candidates, notwithstanding assertions made by the member who asked the question.  If there is any evidence of deficiencies with disclosure obligations in the Commonwealth Electoral Act then it is best dealt with by amendment to that act. 

What we have here is hypocrisy in the extreme.  The Greens once again want to change the rules to suit themselves.  They now say we should change the rules with respect to political donations so there is no secrecy.  What about the secrecy when you, as a party, received $130 000 before the last federal election and $1.5 million before the election before that?  You were quite happy to keep that secret.

Ms O'Connor interjecting.

Madam SPEAKER - Order.  I warn the member for Denison, Ms O'Connor, after I have just finished warning the House.