Unions Could Challenge NSW Donation Laws

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The Berejiklian government is facing a High Court fight ahead of the March 2019 election after the peak body for the state's trade unions confirmed it would challenge new electoral funding laws that threaten union members with jail time for engaging in joint election campaigns.

On Friday, a coalition of six unions led by Unions NSW filed a High Court challenge to the laws, which dramatically curtail the amount of money third-party campaigners such as trade unions can spend in the six months before an election, including on television and radio campaigns.

>NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian.

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian.

Photo: Jessica Hromas

Previously, third parties could spend up to $1.28 million but the laws impose a new cap of $500,000.

The unions will argue the laws, touted by Premier Gladys Berejiklian as a means of preventing undue influence and corruption in the political process, infringe the implied freedom of political communication in the Commonwealth Constitution.

Professor Anne Twomey, a constitutional law expert at the University of Sydney, said the new laws "significantly reduce the capacity of third-party campaigners to be heard" during an election campaign and it may be "difficult" for the NSW government to justify the changes.

Source : https://www.smh.com.au/politics/nsw/unions-file-high-court-challenge-to-nsw-electoral-funding-laws-20180809-p4zwl9.html

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