Catherine Delahunty writes:
Asset sales petition gathers momentum
Of course it has momentum. That is because the Greens are spending around $80,000 of taxpayers money to pay people to collect signatures for it. It’s an appalling use of parliamentary resources and goes against all their arguments about keeping money out of politics.
There then is a broader problem with a political party so deeply involving itself in the CIR process. When this was set up, it was designed to be a way in which broader civil society can send a message to parliamentarians on issues that it thinks important enough to mobilise around. (Actually, it was designed to be a sop to public outrage with politicians that might be enough to stop them voting to change the electoral system … but never mind that for now.)
So to now have a political party effectively bankrolling the process of forcing a CIR represents something of a distortion of its intent. (I note that Labour is somewhat implicated in this as well, albeit without apparently providing the same financial muscle.) Essentially, it is turning CIR’s from expressions of the views of a self-organising general public into yet another campaign tool deployed to advance the particular interests of organised political parties that are funded through public subsidies.
The Greens and Labour are just using the CIR as indeed a campaign tool. Then the hypocrisy:
First, it becomes pretty hard to rail against the influence of money in politics when you yourself are spending money trying to influence politics. For example, the Green Party’s policy proposal on campaign finance reform reads:
No person or entity can donate more than $35,000 to a political party in any twelve month period. This would need to include rules to make it illegal to split up large donations into lots smaller than $35,000 to avoid this cap.
So why exactly is giving more than $35,000 to a political party to spend on trying to achieve political outcomes A Bad Thing, whilst spending $50,000 (at least) on trying to achieve political outcomes is A Good Thing?
In other words it is bad thing to do, except when the Greens do it.
Anyway I am still waiting for Labour and Greens to announce they are implementing the results of the 2009 referendum, which to to change to the law so a parental smack of a child for correctional purposes is no longer a criminal offence. 87.4% of the voting public voted that it should not be.Tags: Andrew Geddis, Asset Sales, CIR, Greens