Legalised Theft

The Auditor-General and Solictor-General find that Labour’s $446,000 pledge cards are electioneering (wow what a surprise), so what is Labour’s response?

Not to pay it back, no. But to propose state funding of political parties, so they can do it again in future, without challenge.

Now look as a (semi-retired) party activist, state funding is superb for people like me. I’ve spent 20 years doing the following:

* Buying $100 raffle tickets for prizes I don’t even want
* Spending dozens of hours organising sausage sizzles, quiz nights, movie outings to make a few hundred dollars
* Attending numerous over-priced cocktail functions, just so I can “meet” an MP (never mind I was seeing them almost every day at work anyway)
* Trying to sell raffle tickets to my friends, and them guiltily when falling short buying the rest myself
* Responding to HQ direct mail appeals
* Donating to local campaigns
* Hand delivering letters to save on postage

Now hell you have to be mashochistic to not want state funding of parties if you are an activist. It’s like nirvana. But it’s wrong all the same.

It’s good for a party to have to work hard to earn its money. It’s good that when you are out of touch with your supporters that your funding declines. It’s good that your sucess is linked to how many dedicated activists will sweat and toil for the party. They all help keep a party honest.

A party which is less reliant on its members and activists, is a less democratic party. Having to work hard for your funding is good for the soul. Student Associations are a classic example of what happens when you just get your funding given to you without having to earn it.

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