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Need to prioritise electoral reform

Achieving meaningful electoral reform is always challenging as the major parties have a vested interest in maintaining the status quo.

It is absolutely critical that we see wide-ranging reform ahead of the next federal election.

But it’s equally critical that we get any reforms right - we should be looking closely at best practice around the world and ensuring that the changes we make strengthen our democracy. 

The weakness of current electoral laws undermines the healthy functioning of our democracy.

I experienced firsthand the consequences of an absence of federal truth in political advertising laws during the last election with Advance Australia’s campaign, promoted by the Liberal Party, to mislead voters by portraying me as a Greens candidate.

While the Australian Election Commission eventually found in my favour, it took far too long and came after more than 50,000 Canberrans had cast their vote.

We need strong, enforceable and actively monitored truth in political advertising laws legislated ahead of any return to the polls.

I maintain my pre-election commitment to push for political donation reform, including lowering the disclosure threshold, speeding up the timeframe toward real-time disclosures and capping spending to ensure wealth is not a barrier to standing for election. 

Electoral contests should be won or lost based on who has the best ideas and the best track record standing up for their community, not who can spend the most or tell the biggest lies.

I will be looking to contribute to the Joint Standing Committee on Electoral Matters process.

The end point of political donations reform needs to be making politics accessible to everyone. 

Wealth should not be a precursor to determining whether you can run - and be competitive - to represent your community.

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