August 08, 2005 | Graham

Labor should pay back public funding money

According to the ABC, Tim Gartrell, National Secretary of the ALP, “wants the Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) to investigate whether it is possible to stop political candidates making money from the election process”.
His concern is that Pauline Hanson made $164,000 from public funding in her last attempt to gain a senate seat. I think I have a privileged position in this debate, as I was the first person that I know of to raise the issue of what she might take home from her run for the Senate.
But so what if she bagged a surplus? I pointed it out because she was crying poor, not because there was anything immoral in it. It’s a quirk of the public funding system which anyone is entitled to exploit. Political parties certainly do. They regularly run their senate campaigns at a profit because they never spend any money directly getting a senator elected. The profit is directed towards the lower house, and also indirectly helps to pay the salaries of officials like Gartrell, who are therefore also a private beneficiary.
That is apart from the Democrats and the Greens, and I have always suspected that the public funding laws for the Senate are specifically crafted to help the minors out in the Upper House and the majors in the lower one.
Perhaps Tim should think about paying back the public funding for the Senate, or at least that amount of it that was spent getting lower house members elected?

Posted by Graham at 11:20 pm | Comments (2) |
Filed under: Australian Politics


  1. There are costs involved in campaigning for election, so I have no problems with political parties being partly refunded, it helps democracy when various opinions and policies are talked about.
    But Hanson didn’t spend any money on her campaign as it was all media driven, so she has made some money. I don’t blame the funding laws though I blame the media.

    Comment by Benno — August 9, 2005 @ 1:39 pm

  2. I spend so much time on other people’s blogs I wonder why I bother to have my own. Oh yes, it is because I am ego centric and arrogant.
    Yay Me!

    Comment by Benno — August 11, 2005 @ 6:00 pm

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