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Electoral Law Reform - Corporate Donations

Cassy O'Connor MP  -  Wednesday, 24 November 2021

Tags: Pokies, Electoral Reform, Political Donations


Sometime today, the legislation which was bought and paid for by the gambling industry will pass the Legislative Council and come back to this House, largely thanks to Labor's capitulation. The debate on your future gaming markets bill has demonstrated to Tasmanians the toxic, corrosive influence of corporate donations on both the Liberal and Labor parties, which allowed their conscience and votes to be bought against the public interest.

Premier, in this context -

Mr Barnett - That is defamatory.

Ms O'CONNOR - Sue me. Go on, sue me for telling the truth.

Mr Barnett - Say it outside, see how you go.

Ms O'CONNOR - No, I would be happy to be sued for telling the truth because it is a statement of fact that your conscience and votes were bought by the gambling industry.

Mr Barnett - It's offensive.

Ms O'CONNOR - Please, sue me. Premier, in this context, can you explain why, after dragging your heels on electoral reform for years, your Government's proposed changes to electoral laws will still leave Tasmania with the weakest donations disclosure framework in the country with no caps on donations or expenditure, no ban on corporate donations and every opportunity for vested interests to keep corrupting our democracy?



Mr Speaker, I thank the Leader of the Greens, Ms O'Connor, for that question. First, let me reject very firmly all that rubbish. I reject all those assertions. They are not facts and my conscience is clear.

We took a policy to the last election, in fact, to the 2018 election - this has been around for a while. It has had a very good going over by the upper House. Some would say that perhaps time has been wasted, but that is a matter for the upper House.

The policy has been out since 2018. It has been through two election periods. As you know full well, the state will get more money from it and we will invest more into harm minimisation and other matters. We will invest more money because we are getting more money as a result of the deal.

Pubs and clubs will have more revenue themselves which will mean that they can employ more staff and invest in those facilities.

The monopoly has gone. We have smashed the monopoly and the revenue that the state receives, the revenue that flows to the pubs and clubs, is as a result of Federal Hotels losing $20 million.

Ms O'Connor - Cry me a river.

Mr GUTWEIN - The Leader of the Greens knows that this is good deal for the state

Ms O'Connor - I am completely misrepresented and you should withdraw that. I am interested in people having happy, productive, successful lives, not blighted by addiction.

Mr SPEAKER - Order.

Mr GUTWEIN - My conscience is clear, I hope yours is. I hope your conscience is clear.

Ms O'Connor - Do you want to go to the question?

Mr SPEAKER - Order, Ms O'Connor.

Mr GUTWEIN - With regard to electoral reform and donations, I am proud that I am the first Premier to actually introduce state-based electoral legislation reform. You were in government yourself and never went anywhere near it.

Ms O'CONNOR - Point of order, Mr Speaker. The Premier has misled the House.

Members interjecting.

Mr SPEAKER - Before you start, allow everyone to calm down so I can hear the point of order.

Ms O'CONNOR - So that the Premier does not mislead the House, we passed electoral reform in this House in 2013. It was blocked upstairs.

Mr SPEAKER - I do not take the point of order. It is not a point of order. The Premier has the call. Other voices should not be heard.

Mr GUTWEIN - We remain today, as we were then, under the federal legislation. That is a statement of fact. With regard to electoral reform, that matter will be progressed next year. Prior to the next election, there will be a state-based system in place. That is a statement of fact.

I am not sure what point the Leader of the Greens was trying to make -

Ms O'Connor - Why do you not have caps on donations?

Mr SPEAKER - Order.

Mr GUTWEIN - I expect that legislation will be passed by this place next year and will be in place for the next election.

Ms O'Connor - We will still have the weakest laws in the country.

Mr SPEAKER - Order.

Mr GUTWEIN - With regard to the laws, we have taken a balanced approach to this. My understanding is that the federal laws are at around $14 300 or thereabouts; they may have even gone up a little bit from that with regard to electoral disclosure. We have proposed $5000, which is in line with South Australia, and that legislation will come through this place next year and everybody will have the opportunity to have a say.