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29 Nov 2017

Electoral (Candidate Declarations) Amendment Bill

Adjourned debate on second reading.

(Continued from 15 November 2017.)

The Hon. A.L. McLACHLAN (00:11): I rise to speak to the Electoral (Candidate Declarations) Amendment Bill 2017. I speak on behalf of the Liberal Party in relation to this private member’s bill. I indicate that we support the second reading, but the Liberal Party’s view is that it is not inclined to support the bill at the third reading.

The bill, in our view, is well-intentioned, and the Liberal Party, probably more than any other party in this state, has suffered from members being elected under the Liberal banner or flag and then subsequently deciding to support another party or become Independent. However, we feel that this bill, if enacted, would be an unnecessary imposition on the free and natural flow of democratic processes.

The public can ask a member of parliament or a new candidate to declare their position. Should they give an unsatisfactory answer, they can vote accordingly or, even if they refuse, electors can make up their own mind. The media can discuss the answers of the candidate or MP and ultimately the community can make their judgement.

The community elects representatives for a variety of reasons. We never really know how an individual casts their vote, other than in accordance with their own conscience. Therefore, we do not think that imposing this sort of condition on an individual as a candidate will be the paramount factor in an election. I appreciate that it may be one factor, but people cast their vote for a variety of reasons, so we do not think it is helpful to make it binding.

Ultimately, the Liberal Party does not believe that it should interfere with this time-honoured democratic tradition. Whilst it has great sympathy for the bill, it will not be able to support it at the third reading but, as I indicated, it will support the second reading.

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