May 22, 2006

Electoral changes rammed through the House

Electoral changes rammed through the House


22 May 2006

Anthony Albanese MP, Federal Member for Grayndler, has spoken in Parliament about the Government’s electoral reforms which were rammed through the House of Representatives last Thursday 11 May 2006.

Mr Albanese said, “The Electoral and Referendum Amendment (Electoral Integrity and Other Measures) Bill 2005 represents a fundamental attack on Australian democracy.”

“Labor is opposed strongly to the provisions in this bill which will see electoral rolls close early, introduce new proof-of-identity requirements, increase the disclosure threshold for political donations to $10,000 and increase the size and scope of the tax deductibility regime for political donations to $1,500.”

He said, “The government plans to close the electoral rolls at 8 pm on the day that an election writ is issued. Because of these changes, the ability of some 280,000 Australians to vote could be jeopardised and most of those will be young people.”

“In Grayndler, from one election to the next almost 25 per cent of names on the roll will change—every three years. I have an enormous number of students and young people in my electorate. Grayndler has among the highest numbers in Australia of people who rent rather than own their homes.”

“This bill threatens a strong disenfranchisement of voters in my electorate.”

Mr Albanese also outlined how the Greens Party had sought to manipulate electoral disclosure provisions, had invested in a company which, ”does not take into account labour standards or environmental, social or ethical considerations”, accepted donations from opposition candidates and advertised for a national fundraiser who could operate in “business settings” and deal with “high-net worth individuals”.

Disclosure provisions are important for all political parties.