Debate resumed from 31 October.
Mr O'FARRELL (Ku-ring-gai) [10.00 a.m.]: The Opposition does not oppose this bill, which seeks to vary slightly the arrangements under which electoral funding payments are made after an election campaign. The Act allows payments to be made directly to candidates. The bill provides an option under the electoral funding mechanisms for candidates to opt, if they so desire, to have payments made directly to their party. A candidate can elect to receive those public funds directly after a campaign or direct them to his or her party if he or she represents a party. It is a voluntary provision and has an opt-out clause. It also requires the consent of the candidate. Of course, the option can be varied from election to election.
This is a sensible amendment. It does not increase the funding available to candidates, reduce the accountability of candidates and political parties in applying for funding, or weaken the public interest in relation to election funding in this State. However, in the past decade or so people have been elected to Parliament representing a particular party and subsequently have changed allegiance or become Independents and unseemly arguments have ensued about election funding returns. If this option had been available, in many of those instances we would have avoided the heartache, concern and the bad reputation that resulted for parties and candidates. The Opposition supports the bill as a sensible measure to protect the public interest in this regard.
Motion agreed to.
Bill read a second time and passed through remaining stages.