The NSW trade union movement will fiercely resist any attempt to silence it if the NSW government pushes ahead with new financial restrictions on election campaigning.

 

The NSW Liberals have announced plans to more than halve the amount unions, charities, churches and other ‘third parties’ can spend within six months of an election.

 

This would cap electoral expenditure by third-party campaigners at $500,000 making it extremely difficult to run a campaign. The existing limit is $1.2 million.

 

“The NSW Liberals don’t like criticism and this is just the latest attempt to silence dissent after previous failed efforts to ban protest and political campaigning,” said Mark Morey, Secretary of Unions NSW.  

 

“We will fight any attempt to undermine the political expression of working people. We have always pooled our resources to make sure our voice is heard as we simply don’t have the resources of an AMP or a Commonwealth Bank, or a Malcolm Turnbull for that matter. 

 

“The Liberals are trying to engineer a situation where they can abuse government advertising promoting themselves while unions and other campaigners are silenced. This is the political equivalent of match-fixing.  

 

“The Liberals know we have defeated them on this issue in the High Court previously. We won’t hesitate to run another case if necessary.”   

 

In 2013, Unions NSW successfully appealed restrictions on political communication in the High Court, which resulted in the government being ordered to pay costs of around $600,000.

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