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Tuesday, 24 June 1997
Page: 4972


Senator KERNOT (Leader of the Australian Democrats) —I give notice that, on the next day of sitting, I shall move:

That the Senate—

(a)   notes that:

   (i)   in the majority report of the Joint Standing Committee on Electoral Matters inquiry into the conduct of the 1996 federal election, tabled on 16 June 1997, Coalition members and senators recommended the repeal of section 245 of the Commonwealth Electoral Act, relating to compulsory voting at federal elections and referenda,

   (ii)   a trial of this principle is already being undertaken by the Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister (Senator Minchin), acting on behalf of the Federal Government, under the guise of the Constitutional Convention (Election) Bill 1997, and

   (iii)   compulsory voting has a 73 year history at federal elections in Australia and, according to a Morgan Poll published in the Bulletin of 24 June 1997, has the support of 68 per cent of Coalition voters and 70 per cent of Australian Labor Party voters; and

(b)   calls on the Federal Government to:

   (i)   note the overwhelming support of the Australian people for the retention of compulsory voting, and

   (ii)   accept the vote of the Senate with respect to compulsory voting at the forthcoming Constitutional Convention.