Wealthy will control politics under Liberals election funding changes

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by StreetCorner

The O'Farrell Government's changes to election funding laws will Americanise NSW politics – and ensure only independently wealthy people control the Parliament, Opposition Leader John Robertson said today.

"Barry O'Farrell has introduced election funding laws that will mean democracy in NSW will never be the same again," Mr Robertson said.

"These laws will Americanise State politics – and ensure that independently wealthy people will control the political process in NSW.

"Running a political campaign is simply beyond the financial means of most Australians. Banning third party donations from community organisations, unions and disability advocacy groups will squash the ability of average Australians to take part in our political system.

"Under Barry O'Farrell's laws, a wealthy person can run a $1 million campaign advocating on behalf of Liberal Party issues – yet a peak body such as the NSW Council of Social Services, Unions NSW or the Christian Lobby will be paralysed in their ability to campaign."

The Premier's bumbling grasp of his own bill was exposed after he was embarrassingly contradicted during this morning's Upper House inquiry, Shadow Special Minister of State, Steve Whan said.

"Today, the Premier asserted that his bill did not ban all third party political campaigns during election periods. In fact, the bill does ban third party political campaigns – a point made clearly by constitutional expert Professor Anne Twomey," Mr Whan said.

"Furthermore, Dr Twomey highlighted that amendments in this bill preventing unions and corporate entities from affiliating to a political party will also be potentially knocked out by the High Court.

"When the Premier was asked questions about these issues, he stated: "I will have to get you a lawyer".

"The Premier has produced a dog's breakfast of an election funding bill – it's no surprise he's been left with egg on his face trying to explain it."

Written by the Office of John Robertson, NSW Opposition Leader

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