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Political Donation Laws Review

Cassy O'Connor MP  -  Tuesday, 15 September 2020

Tags: Political Donations, Donation Disclosure, Democracy, Electoral Reform

Political Donation Laws Review, Cassy O'Connor, 15 September 2020



Today is International Day of Democracy. Do you agree transparency and accountability are key to a healthy democracy? The report of the deliberately narrow review into Tasmania's political donations laws, confirmed as the weakest in the nation, has been sitting on your Attorney-General's desk since late last year. Why has it been gathering dust for nearly nine months now? When will this review report be made public? Do you support strengthening Tasmania's political donation laws in any way, shape or form before the next election?



Madam Speaker, I thank the Leader of the Greens for that question and her interest in this matter. I am sure it has not escaped the Leader of the Greens, or anyone else in this place, that we have had a pretty difficult six months which, as I have just indicated, Tasmanians are now coming out of it and starting to look cautiously optimistic. My focus has not been on a pathway to public funding -

Ms O'Connor - Don't deflect - that's not what the review is about.

Mr GUTWEIN - My focus has not been on public funding of elections, which the Leader of the Greens knows full well -

Ms O'Connor - This is a pathetic answer from you.

Madam SPEAKER - Order, Ms O'Connor. Through the Chair, please.

Mr GUTWEIN - My focus has been on the path that has occurred in every other state and territory jurisdiction that has moved on this. In the interest of openness and transparency the Leader of the Greens should put firmly on the record that she understands what she is asking for is a move to publicly funded elections.

As to the report, I have not turned my mind to it because I have been trying to get on top of this virus and keeping Tasmanians as safe as I possibly can. What keeps me awake at night is not troubling myself with whether you want to move to public funding. It is whether our aged care system is going to provide the protections we need.

Ms O'CONNOR - Point of order, Madam Speaker, under Standing Order 45, relevance. The Premier is dissembling. It is the same answer he gave last time. Could he tell the House when the report of the review will be made public? That was the question.

Madam SPEAKER - Thank you, that is not a point of order. It is up to the Premier as to how he answers.

Ms O'Connor - His answer has nothing to do with it.

Mr GUTWEIN - It has everything to do with it because my focus very clearly has been on ensuring that we keep Tasmania as safe as we possibly can, and that we grow our economy and step carefully back to a place where people can employ Tasmanians.

I will make the point that the Leader of the Greens is talking about nine months. Every single country that has opened up post-COVID has had second wave - every single country, every single jurisdiction -

Ms O'CONNOR - Madam Speaker, point of order on relevance. The Premier is making a completely irrelevant point. Could he tell us when the report of the review will be released?

Madam SPEAKER - I have already ruled on this. That is out of order. The Premier is allowed to answer that question any way he sees fit.

Mr GUTWEIN - Madam Speaker, rather than concerning myself with the move to public funding that the Leader of the Greens and those others -

Ms O'Connor - You are dissembling to distract.

Madam SPEAKER - Ms O'Connor, I urge you to be quiet.

Mr GUTWEIN - in this place who want to introduce a new way of dealing with elections, they know full well that what will happen is that we will have to take funding out of health or education or other services.

In answering the Leader of the Green's question, I have not turned my mind to it because I have had other matters, as has my Cabinet, where we have been working as hard as we possibly can to protect the oldest and most vulnerable population in the country to a point where, as I have said, Tasmanians now are cautiously optimistic about the future.

The pathway we have laid out is working. We will have a budget later this year that those on the other side of the House know will unfortunately be in significant deficit and we will be carrying significant amounts of net debt -

Ms O'Connor - Let's see the report.

Madam SPEAKER - Ms O'Connor, warning one.

Mr GUTWEIN - My mind and the mind of my Cabinet has been on those matters that are important to Tasmanians right now - keeping them safe, getting our economy going, and framing up a budget that will deal with some very difficult challenges.