Katy Gallagher backs review into election spending caps

Finance Minister Katy Gallagher says election spending should be examined. Picture: James Croucher
Finance Minister Katy Gallagher says election spending should be examined. Picture: James Croucher

Finance Minister Katy Gallagher says election spending caps should be examined at the federal level after massive amounts were poured into seat races, including in the ACT Senate fight.

Senator Gallagher was chief minister when the ACT introduced limits on how much candidates could spend on their campaigns about a decade ago.

The now federal Labor minister was asked on ABC's Insiders program if she supported spending caps on federal elections.

Senator Gallagher noted there were legal and constitutional issues which made it more difficult to impose such restrictions at the federal level, but said the idea was "definitely" worth considering.

She was in no doubt that the parliamentary committee tasked with examining electoral matters would probe the idea.

"I think what we've seen, and it's increasing each election, is that where you have large amounts of money you can change the campaign," she said.

"I think it's definitely a question we should look at and explore further in light of the democracy, how it's working and the impact on elections.

"But this is for parliaments to decide, not for individual members."

The election once again saw tens of millions of dollars splashed around in an attempt to sway results in seats or across the country.

An estimated $1 million was spent on David Pocock's bid to win the ACT's second Senate seat. Picture: James Croucher

An estimated $1 million was spent on David Pocock's bid to win the ACT's second Senate seat. Picture: James Croucher

Clive Palmer failed to win a seat in parliament for the second election running, having boasted of plans to spend more than $70 million during this year's campaign.

Massive sums were spent in contests featuring Climate 200-backed "teal independent" candidates - many of whom went on to win their seats.

Monique Ryan reportedly received about $1.6 million in donations for her ultimately successful bid to unseat Josh Frydenberg in Kooyong.

The Liberals spent up to $3 million on the campaign to hold the now former Treasurer's seat, according to The Age.

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Senator Gallagher, who scrambled to sandbag her own Senate seat amid the threat from Mr Pocock, described the amount spent on the campaign as unprecedented for the ACT.

"A million dollars on the ACT Senate campaign is something that we have never seen before," she told Insiders.

This story 'You can change the campaign': Gallagher backs review into election spending caps first appeared on The Canberra Times.