Unions Tasmania is pleased to make this submission on the Tasmanian Government’s Electoral Act Review – Interim Report, December 2018 (’Interim Report’), further to our submission in July 2018 on the terms of reference and guiding principles set out in the Tasmanian Government’s Electoral Act Review – Fact Sheet 1, June 2018.
Unions Tasmania is the peak body for trade unions in Tasmania. With 25 affiliate union in Tasmania, we represent approximately 50,000 union members across industry, in both the public and private sectors. We are also the local branch of the Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU).
Unions Tasmania welcomes this review and the positive role it will have in increasing transparency and public confidence in our democracy. We note with disappointment that the Grattan Institute in 2018 ranked Tasmania as the least transparent state when it comes to our electoral disclosure laws. This no doubt contributes to Tasmania’s ever diminishing trust and confidence in our political system and its representatives.
Union members were vocal and swift in their condemnation third party donations from the gambling lobby in the 2018 State Election and were highly critical of the fact that they were unlikely to ever find out in full the source and amount of those donations, estimated to be in the millions.
Unions Tasmania submits that any change to Tasmania’s Electoral Act 2004 (‘Tasmanian Act’) and associated laws must not disadvantage civil society organisation, including unions, who play a positive role in our representative democracy. The union movement will not support any measures that are unfairly aimed at reducing our ability to collectively voice the concerns of workers.
We make further comment below regarding issues in Section 2 and Section 3 of the Interim Report, with emphasis on their potential application to unions.