Geoff Gallop

Geoff Gallop

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    Support for limited election spending

    13/08/1992 12:00 AM
     
     
    Limits on election spending were essential to ensure a fair expression of views at election time, according to Parliamentary and Electoral Reform Minister Geoff Gallop.
     
    Dr Gallop said proposals to ensure the full disclosure of election spending and to limit such spending would promote fairness for everyone involved.
     
    "The electoral process should not be equated with the economic market place and wealth must be restrained," Dr Gallop said.
     
    "The first step is the public disclosure of political donations which is the subject of legislation currently before Parliament.
     
    "Limiting spending is the logical next step, but while the donations legislation is likely to be in place by the next election, proposals to limit spending would not be considered until some time later."
     
    The Minister was speaking on his return from an 11-day study tour of Britain and Canada, where he examined the operation of laws demanding the disclosure of political donations, disclosure and limitation of election expenditure and the regulation of election advertising.
     
    "In Britain and Canada there is general support for the disclosure of political donations and the limitation of election expenditure at the candidate and local electorate levels," Dr Gallop said.
     
    "Canada also has the support of all parties for placing these same demands on political parties and `other persons' - people who are not candidates but who can be as influential.
     
    "A recent Royal Commission into the financing of politics in Canada reaffirmed the importance of laws to limit election spending by `other persons' on the basis that it made no sense to limit parties and candidates but not others with influence."
     
    Dr Gallop said he was also willing to consider reimbursement of some election expenses as part of future electoral reform measures.
     
    However, first there needed to be full openness and accountability and this could be achieved through the public disclosure of donations and limits on election spending.
     
    "Both Britain and Canada can provide valuable expertise in the regulation of political finances but I have to say that in many other areas I believe Western Australia has a fairer system," Dr Gallop said.
     
    Examples included:
     
    ·         an independent Electoral Commission which permanently maintained accurate electoral rolls;
    ·         an impartial boundary re-distribution process;
    ·         preferential and compulsory voting instead of first-past-the-post, non-compulsory voting;
    ·         superior provision of postal voting arrangements; and -
    ·         a far stronger commitment to providing education about elections and parliamentary democracy.