Tuesday 23 November 2010
Hansard of the Legislative Council
PAPERS) BILL 2010 (No. 70)
Mr FINCH (Rosevears) - Madam President, this is a fairly simple and straightforward proposal which I do not see any members of this House opposing, whether they are dedicated Independent members or members of a party. Surely there would not be anybody here who would oppose it.

Mr Aird - We want to see either Independent Labor, Independent Liberal or Independent Greens on the ballot paper, then we would have fairness.

Mr FINCH - Sorry, I am speaking -

Madam PRESIDENT - Order, the honourable member for Rosevears has the Floor. Everyone else will have their opportunity, including the Treasurer.

Mr Aird - What would you be, Independent Liberal, do you think?

Mr FINCH - I am speaking on behalf of dinky-di Independents. This merely allows people like me, Independent candidates, to in fact declare their independence on ballot papers just as members of parties declare their membership, and why not have the opportunity to have the others? Some years ago the member for Windermere stood and declared herself as independent Labor and I think that should be the case, that she should be able to declare that -

Mr Aird - Under this legislation you couldn't do that.

Mr FINCH - No, but when the person is elected next, under that situation they might want to bring that legislation forward as well and have things changed.

Mr Wilkinson - Some change after the election, of course. They stand as an independent and then they join a party.

Mr FINCH - When they come to their senses.

Mr Wilkinson - And the other way around.

Mr FINCH - I am incredulous of this unfair situation. It has really gone on for so long without it being noticed or corrected, and as the proposer of the bill put in his speech, this present situation is inequitable and inconsistent because candidates endorsed by a registered political party are able to indicate to voters on the ballot paper which political party they represent whereas Independent candidates cannot indicate that they are Independent.

Madam President, whilst most parties continue to make inroads - or try to - into the composition of the Legislative Council there is plenty of evidence that many electors prefer their Legislative Councillors to be free of party ties and those restrictions. The year 2010 may well become known as the 'year of the Independents' in the Federal sphere. We only have to look at the way people chose to vote, not only Federally but here in Tasmania for our Federal counterparts where party adversarial politics were on the nose with a proportion of Australian voters and I am reading that that is the way of the world. It is going to be our future as well.

Madam President, you do not have to be of a particular view on the value of Independents when considering this bill, all you have to do is have a notion of fairness. I strongly support this bill and I thank the member for Western Tiers for bringing the anomaly to our attention and for writing my speech.