Tuesday, 4 December 2007

Electoral Finance Bill: The purpose is clear

The crucial and main thrust of the Electoral Finance Bill is as follows and is the clearest part of an otherwise confused, contradictory and appallingly written bill. From part one of the preliminary provisions and purpose of the bill:


5.
Meaning of election advertisement
(1) In this Act, election advertisement

(a) means any form of words or graphics, or both, that can be
reasonably be regarded as doing 1 or more of the following.

(i) encouraging or persuading voters to vote, or not to vote,
for 1 or more specified parties or for 1 or more candidates
or for any combination of such parties and candidates:

(ii) encouraging and persuading voters to vote, or not to vote,
for a type of party or a type of candidate that is described
or indicated by reference to views, positions, or policies
that are or are not held, taken or pursued (whether or not
the name of a party or the name of a candidate is stated):

(iii) taking a position on a proposition with which 1 or more
parties or 1 or more candidates is associated; and

(b) includes-
(i) a candidate advertisement; and
(ii) a party advertisement.



Lets have a closer look:

(a) means any form of words or graphics, or both, that can be
reasonably be regarded as doing 1 or more of the following.

So the purpose of the bill is clear, any words or graphics constitute an election advert.

(i) encouraging or persuading voters to vote, or not to vote,

for 1 or more specified parties or for 1 or more candidates
or for any combination of such parties and candidates:

This blog will be captured as a result of this and so will political writers, broadcasters and individuals who support or have a contrary view to a particular party. Even though in other parts of the bill this purpose is contradicted by saying it allows blogs like this one and the other media I mentioned.

(i) encouraging or persuading voters to vote, or not to vote,
for 1 or more specified parties or for 1 or more candidates
or for any combination of such parties and candidates:

(ii) encouraging and persuading voters to vote, or not to vote,
for a type of party or a type of candidate that is described
or indicated by reference to views, positions, or policies
that are or are not held, taken or pursued (whether or not
the name of a party or the name of a candidate is stated):

Part one and two of the purpose are similar so I will look at them as one. Largely self explanatory and very clear about their purpose. That individuals are unable to express views that may influence others by encouraging them to vote for or against a candidate or party.

"Advertising" those views, as expressed in the purpose and definition of an electoral advertisement, is merely giving ones own opinion to another individual or group to the positive or negative and may be seen as an "advertisement" as a result, according to this portion or the purpose of the bill.

This shuts down all opposition to the incumbent government in an election year and is clearly designed to favour Labour at the expense of democracy and our rights to speak our minds.

The debate continues in parliament this week and the bill looks set to pass into law soon.


C Political Animal 2007



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