It pays to be elected

NEW FUND­ING AR­RANGE­MENTS TO LIMIT THE POWER OF PO­LIT­I­CAL DONA­TIONS

Shepparton News - - SNNEWS - By Myles Peter­son

Can­di­dates for the dis­trict of Shep­par­ton are set for a pay-day now the votes have been fi­nalised with the Vic­to­rian Elec­toral Com­mis­sion to dis­trib­ute hun­dreds of thou­sands of dol­lars to five of the six con­tenders.

Each can­di­date who polled more than four per cent will re­ceive $1.75 for ev­ery first pref­er­ence vote they re­ceived.

Mur­ray Wil­la­ton, who never made an ap­pear­ance, stands to de­liver $5799.50 to his Shoot­ers, Fish­ers & Farm­ers party while Suzanna Sheed who re­ceived the most first pref­er­ence votes will get $27 739.25.

Nic­kee Free­man who failed to break the four per cent thresh­old re­ceives noth­ing.

The money is in­tended to com­pen­sate for the cost of cam­paign­ing and blunt the power of dona­tions to in­flu­ence in­de­pen­dents and po­lit­i­cal par­ties.

It is paid to the re­spec­tive can­di­dates’ po­lit­i­cal party, or the can­di­date them­selves if they are in­de­pen­dent.

Un­der leg­is­la­tion passed ear­lier this year, the amounts will more than triple to $6 per vote at the next Vic­to­rian state elec­tion.

The Elec­toral Leg­is­la­tion Amend­ment Bill 2018 also con­tains new fund­ing to con­trib­ute to the run­ning of a mem­ber of par­lia­ment’s of­fice.

In­de­pen­dents and par­ties with only one mem­ber in par­lia­ment will re­ceive $200 000 per year in ‘ad­min­is­tra­tive’ fund­ing that is re­stricted in its use and can­not be put towards cam­paign­ing, un­like the VEC’s pub­lic fund­ing pay­ments which are in­tended for cam­paign­ing.

Par­ties re­ceive $200 000 for the first mem­ber of par­lia­ment, $70 000 for the sec­ond and $35 000 for each sub­se­quent mem­ber to a max­i­mum of 45.

The new fund­ing ar­range­ments, passed in July this year, are part of a suite of mea­sures de­signed to limit the power of po­lit­i­cal dona­tions and bring more trans­parency to the dona­tions sys­tem.

The to­tal cost of the changes to tax pay­ers is es­ti­mated at $45 mil­lion per year.

Changed con­di­tions: Un­der new rules, lower house can­di­dates will earn $6 per first pref­er­ence vote they re­ceive at the 2022 Vic­to­rian state elec­tion, up from $1.75 per vote at the re­cent elec­tion.

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