Election law reform close

By Paula Oliver

The Government is preparing to move swiftly on election law reform, with a range of options for change already before ministers and likely to be discussed in the Cabinet shortly.

The Ministry of Justice - which has been reviewing the electoral finance regime since April - has completed its work and provided ministers with options for consideration.

It is understood the matter is likely to be talked about at the Cabinet level quite quickly, because any law changes would need to be passed by the end of next year before the 2008 election.

An amendment bill, if required, is likely to be introduced early next year.

The wide-ranging review covers controversial issues such as donations, state funding of political parties, expenditure caps and third-party campaign advertising like that used by the Exclusive Brethren last year.

But while the Government considers its next move with electoral law, calls from some observers for an inquiry into the events around the 2005 election may not be heeded.

Education Minister and Labour strategist Steve Maharey yesterday said he did not think one was needed.

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