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Wednesday, 23 November 2011
Page: 13568

Mr GRAY (BrandSpecial Minister of State for the Public Service and Integrity and Special Minister of State) (11:42): I move:

That this bill be now read a second time.

I am pleased to present a bill to amend the Electoral Act and the referendum act to deliver a more accurate electoral roll.

This bill will allow the Electoral Commissioner to directly update an elector's enrolled address following receipt and analysis of reliable and current data sources from outside the Electoral Commission. The bill is consistent with legislation already operating in Victoria and New South Wales.

Information from reliable sources is already used by the Electoral Commission to monitor the accuracy of the roll. The Electoral Act does not currently permit the Electoral Commission to use this information to update the elector's enrolled address.

The Electoral Commission currently uses this information as the basis to remove someone from the electoral roll. The result is that eligible electors are being removed from the roll despite the fact that the Electoral Commission has accurate information on the elector's current address. This restriction is having a detrimental effect on enrolment.

This bill will enable the Electoral Commission to deliver a more accurate electoral roll. The Electoral Commissioner will be permitted to use accurate and timely information from reliable sources to maintain the current address of already enrolled electors. This bill will ensure that an elector will be notified of the Electoral Commissioner's intention to enrol him or her at a new address and be given the opportunity to object to the change.

The bill will not provide the capacity to directly enrol new electors. Persons who are not on the roll will need to enrol in accordance with the current requirements in the Electoral Act.

The bill will assist in meeting the urgent need to arrest the decline in enrolment rates across Australia by ensuring the federal electoral roll is as current and accurate as possible.

It will also ensure that the roll sits in harmony with rolls in those states where trusted source enrolment currently takes place.

I commend the bill to the House. Debate adjourned.