Sometimes it is difficult to work out what is going on inside people’s brains. Tony Abbott has copped plenty of deserved flak over his ludicrous defence of the Liberal Party’s decision to solicit donations not for flood victims but so that the party can run a campaign against the government’s flood tax.
If his judgment has been found wanting, more questionable is the judgment of anyone who would dip into their hard-earned for a political party, when there are much important things to spend money on, such as children’s books or beer.
Abbott had the easiest of outs on this issue, and messed it up completely. He could and should have said that the Liberal Party had issued the appeal for donations under its own steam and that he had spoken to the people involved and ordered them, as leader, to set aside any money raised to be handed directly and entirely to the Queensland Flood Appeal.
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In less than two weeks time, while the majority of Australians flock to the polls and cast their ballots, young people across the country will sit in silence, stripped of their democratic rights by our cumbersome and anachronistic electoral system.
Last Friday, the High Court overturned the Howard government’s 2006 changes to the Electoral Act. The amendments had resulted in the electoral roll being closed a matter of hours after the writs were issued.
In an action brought by political advocacy group GetUp!, the court held these changes to be unconstitutional, thereby restoring the original seven day grace period in which individuals may place themselves on the roll.
As a consequence, an estimated 100,000 additional Australians, predominately youth, are now able to take part in this year’s election.
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It’s reporting season for political parties in the 2008-09 financial year. Well in as much as political parties are forced to report in Australia.
The Government’s recent decision to stall its much publicised reform of the process means that parties still don’t have to report donations of less than $10,900.
Liberals Senator Michael Ronaldson has been jumping up and down this afternoon about union donations to the Labor Party, totalling a hefty $5.14 million Australia-wide.
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