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KD Knight dismisses taxpayer election funding proposal

Published:Friday | October 25, 2013 | 6:22 PM

A proposal that taxpayers contribute to an election fund has been shot down by Government Senator K.D. Knight, who said it would represent an unwise use of resources.

Contributing to a debate in the upper House today Knight said it does not matter whether his comment is considered controversial.

He said he was not prepared to have tax dollars go towards campaign financing instead of on roads, education and hospitals.

In its report to parliament, which has already been passed in the House of Representatives, the ECJ said state funding may act as a valuable tool in protecting political equality of opportunity and creating a level playing field.

It said such a mechanism would enable small parties and persons of modest means to offer themselves as candidates and compete with parties or candidates who are dominant and more financially viable.

Government Senator Wensworth Skeffery said he supported the state funding of campaigns, as proposed in the ECJ report, but questioned the practicality of bringing it on stream.

Skeffery noted that in light of economic woes, the Government has not been able to respond to many social ills, and therefore a national campaign fund may be unpalatable.

In the meantime, Knight has pledge to lead a fight against a proposal from the ECJ to impose a ban on persons found in breach of contravening campaign financing laws, saying it would go too far.

He argues that it would have a serious effect on how government operates.


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