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Inquiry Details

Public funding of local government election campaigns

The Joint Standing Committee on Electoral Matters is currently conducting an inquiry into a model of public funding for political parties and candidates to apply at the local government level.

This is a follow-up inquiry to the Committee's earlier inquiry on public funding of state election campaigns. The report on that part of the inquiry was published in March 2010. As part of the inquiry, the Committee has published an issues paper identifying some of the issues associated with developing a public funding model for local government elections. The paper is available below, under 'Other Documents'.

That:

(1) having regard to the June 2008 report of the Legislative Council Select Committee on Electoral and Political Party Funding which recommended, among other things, that all but small donations by individuals be banned and that further consultation be undertaken on increasing public funding of political parties and elections; and

(2) noting that the Government has announced its support for the introduction of a comprehensive public funding model;

the Joint Standing Committee on Electoral Matters is to inquire into a public funding model for political parties and candidates to apply at the state and local government levels.

The Committee is to consider the following:

(a) the criteria and thresholds that should apply for eligibility to receive public funding;

(b) the manner in which public funding should be calculated and allocated, including whether it should take into account first preference votes, parliamentary representation, party membership' subscriptions, individual donations and/or other criteria;

(c) any caps that should apply, including whether there should be an overall cap on public funding and/or caps on funding of each individual party or candidate either absolutely or as a proportion of their total campaign expenditure or fundraising;

(d) the persons to whom the public funding should be paid, including whether it should be paid directly to candidates or to political parties;

(e) the mechanisms for paying public funding, including the timing of payments;

(f) whether any restrictions should be imposed on the expenditure of public funding and, if so, what restrictions should apply and how should the expenditure of public funding be monitored;

(g) whether any restrictions should be imposed on expenditure by political parties and candidates more generally and, if so, what restrictions should apply and how should expenditure be monitored;

(h) how public funding should apply as part of the broader scheme under which political donations are banned or capped;

(i) whether there should be any regulation of expenditure by third parties on political advertising or communication;

(j) whether there should be any additional regulation to ensure that government public information advertising is not used for partisan political purposes;

(k) any implications arising from the federal nature of Australia's system of government and its political parties, including in relation to intra-party transfers of funds from federal and other state/territory units of political parties;

(l) what provisions should be included in order to prevent avoidance and circumvention of any limits imposed by a public funding scheme;

(m) the compatibility of any proposed measures with the freedom of political communication that is implied under the Commonwealth Constitution;

(n) the impact of any proposed measures on the ability of new candidates, including independent candidates and new political groupings, to contest elections;

(o) any relevant reports and recommendations previously made by the Select Committee on Electoral and Political Party Funding; and

(p) any other related matters.

The Committee is to report by 12 March 2010.


 Terms of reference

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