Shooters in line for funding windfall

THE minor parties holding the balance of power in the NSW upper house stand to have their public funding more than doubled after the Shooters and Fishers Party and the government reached a deal to pass the electricity privatisation bill.

The joint standing committee on electoral matters, which is controlled by government members, has recommended administrative funding for parties be significantly increased.

Currently, all parties are paid $83,000 a member each year, capped at 25 MPs. The committee has recommended lifting this to $200,000 for the first MP and independents, $150,000 for the second, $100,000 for the third and $83,000 for subsequent members, with the same cap.

This means funding for the Shooters and Fishers Party and the Christian Democratic Party, which share the balance of power in the upper house with two MPs each, would be lifted from $166,000 a year to $350,000.

The Greens’ funding would rise from $498,000 to $699,000 a year. Labor and the Coalition parties would also gain an extra $201,000.

Administration funding was introduced to help parties comply with laws that limited political donations.

The Shooters and Fishers had requested a minimum of $500,000 funding for parties of four MPs or fewer. The Christian Democrats argued it should be at least doubled.

The Premier, Barry O’Farrell, asked the committee to examine the issue as part of his deal with the Shooters and Fishers to pass the electricity legislation in May.

The Opposition Leader, John Robertson, referred the deal to the Independent Commission Against Corruption, which declined to investigate.

A spokesman for Mr O’Farrell said the government was considering the recommendations.

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Hangzhou Night Net.

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