Should political activity be further regulated?

In his speech to the National Press Club yesterday, Liberal Party federal director Brian Loughnane said this about the role of the ACTU and GetUp! in the campaign:

The ACTU spent over $14 million on television advertising in the twelve months before election day. This was more than either of the two major parties spent on television in the campaign…

For the first time in our history, a third external force has intervened in our political process with resources greater than either of the major political parties. I believe this is an extremely unhealthy development. If disclosure of campaign spending is to mean anything in this country, the ACTU should be required to publish a report setting out details of how the $30 million it allocated to the campaign was spent.

…The intervention of GetUp! in the campaign is another example of this phenomenon. GetUp! was well resourced and has strong international connections. It is perfectly entitled to play in the game, but it should also be subject to proper levels of scrutiny.

Actually, direct election campaign spending by the ACTU and GetUp! will have to be disclosed, and GetUp! also warns donors that their identities may be disclosed. Loughnane seems to be suggesting that these rules go even further and apply to spending outside of election campaigns.

This would be a highly undesirable development. Continue reading “Should political activity be further regulated?”

A happily wrong prediction

On Thursday 22 November, when explaining how I was going to vote, I said:

In the Senate, I am going to put my friend Scott Ryan first, though as he is third on the Liberal ticket I don’t like his chances of becoming Senator Ryan this time around.

Happily, I was too pessimistic. This morning, the Australian Electoral Commission confirmed that Scott had been elected to the Senate.

Another advantage of this is that I had been disqualifying Scott, who lives in Carlton, from any claim to be a second Carlton classical liberal on the grounds that as a Liberal Party candidate he was bound to support its big government policies (as a mere Liberal Party branch member I can say what I like). So the wisdom of Victorian voters in making Scott Senator Ryan has also allowed me to keep my blog title. Somehow ‘Observations from one of Carlton’s classical liberals’ doesn’t sound right.