Tasmania’s Lower House has demonstrated its willingness to immediately consider any amendments made by the Legislative Council to the Electoral Disclosure and Funding Bill 2022 and Electoral Matters (Miscellaneous) Bill 2022
Independent Member for Clark, Kristie Johnston MP, successfully suspended Standing Orders on Thursday night to move the motion of urgency.
The unanimous agreement comes as the Bills are set to be voted on in Tasmania’s Legislative Council.
- The Lower House has demonstrated its willingness to immediately consider the electoral laws, if amended, after years of delays in progress.
- Labor announced two weeks ago it would withdraw its support for proposed amendments to both Bills and instead support the Government’s approach, because it thought the amended Bills would not get the chance to be considered by the Lower House.
- Last night’s unanimous agreement demonstrates the House’s willingness to consider strengthened electoral laws.
- Members of the Legislative Council have been calling for amendments to address major deficiencies in the government bills.
- Australia Institute research ahead of the last Tasmanian state election found 87% of Tasmanians want truth in political advertising laws and 73% want a ban on the gambling industry making political donations.
- In an open letter to the Tasmanian Parliament on Thursday 2nd November, 15 leading civil society organisations, including the Australia Institute, Unions Tasmania and the CPSU, TasCOSS, the Human Rights Law Centre and the Australian Conservation Foundation called on MPs to strengthen the proposed laws in order to create a transparent, effective system for the regulation of political donations and influence.
“This is an opportunity for Labor to work across the parliament and strengthen these proposed electoral laws, including with a lower disclosure threshold, truth in political advertising, and supporting other key amendments. There is no excuse not to,” said Eloise Carr, Director of the Australia Institute Tasmania.
“The Lower House has demonstrated its willingness to immediately consider the electoral laws, if amended, after years of delays in passing this legislation. This opportunity shows the importance of having independent and diverse voices in our parliament.
“Labor now has the chance to demonstrate leadership on an issue that is of great importance to Tasmanians, as Australia Institute research shows. It can strengthen these laws knowing that the Lower House has recognised the need to immediately make progress on them.
“If passed in their current forms, the Bills will leave us with some of the weakest political donation laws in the country, and it will remain legal to lie in political ads.
“With an early election looming, Tasmania needs transparent and effective electoral laws, and the Bills in their current forms are not fit for purpose.”