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Liberals Vote Against Electoral Reform, Back in Damaged Democracy

Cassy O'Connor MP

Cassy O'Connor MP  -  Wednesday, 24 November 2021

Tags: Democracy, Electoral Reform, Political Donations, Pokies, Federal Group

Cassy O’Connor MP | Greens Leader

The Liberals’ disinterest in a genuinely robust democracy, was on show in Parliament once again today, when they voted down the Greens’ Electoral Amendment (Integrity of Elections) Bill 2021.

In opposing our Bill, the Liberals voted against: 

  • Making public any donor who contributes more than $1,000 in a year
  • Limiting donations from a single source to $3,000 in a four-year term of government
  • Setting spending limits for political parties, candidates, lobbyists, industry groups, and other third-party organisations
  • Disclosing donations in real time
  • Introducing a truth in political advertising framework like South Australia and the ACT

Tasmanian politics has been corrupted by the influence of corporate donations for decades. No example is clearer than the current Parliamentary debate on pokies and the future of the gambling industry in Tasmania.

Despite overwhelming community opposition to pokies in pubs and clubs, both Labor and the Liberals have put the interests of their corporate donors ahead of the Tasmanian people, and have worked together to embed the harm for decades to come. 

After the gambling industry bankrolled the Liberals’ 2018 election win, the government promised to fix the state’s electoral laws. Three plus years of heel-dragging later, what they’ve come up with will still leave Tasmania with the weakest political donations laws in the nation. 

Given the Gutwein Government’s failure to offer real, democratic change, we sought to lead the way with a nation-leading reform Bill.

We are pleased both Labor, and Independent Member for Clark Ms Johnston, supported our Bill. In contrast, the Liberals seem as content as ever with opaque, paid-for elections as they are taking orders from the pokies barons.