Hansard of the Legislative Council

Thursday 19 March 2015



Local Government Elections - Donations and Electoral Spending




[2.31 p.m.]

   1)In view of the call by the head of the Local Government Association, Allan Garcia, for greater transparency of political donations in local government, what plans has the Government for legislation?


   2)Does the Government recognise the inconsistency in that candidates for council elections are not required to disclose who has contributed to campaigns?


   3)Does the Government believe local government voters should be aware if a candidate has received a donation from a property developer?




Mr President, I thank the honourable member for Rosevears for his question.


   1)Currently, the legislation prescribes limits on electoral advertising expenditure for the purchase of advertising time or space by a local government candidate during an election period. The limit is $5 000 per candidate or $8 000 if the candidate has also nominated for mayor or deputy mayor. The existing expenditure caps mean that if a candidate received a large campaign donation, he or she would not be able to spend any money above the prescribed limit, or exceed the prescribed limits regarding advertising, during an election.


    In other states, expenditure on local government elections is not necessarily restricted but there are various requirements for candidates to disclose donations and electoral spending.


   2)The Government has no plans to introduce changes to disclosure requirements, and will continue to consider this matter as a policy issue prior to the next local government elections. Those considerations will include taking into account the outcome of the Legislative Council Committee into the Tasmanian Electoral Commission.


   3)The Government acknowledges that there are differences at the local, state and federal levels of government in relation to the requirements to disclose political donations. Any consideration of potential changes to the arrangements for local government will take into account the outcome of the Legislative Council Committee into the Tasmanian Electoral Commission.