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Thursday, 24 June 2010
Page: 4313

Senator RONALDSON (12:11 PM) —by leave—I move opposition amendments (1) to (4) on sheet 6140 together:

(1)    Schedule 1, item 6, page 4 (line 6), after “top”, insert “or bottom”.

(2)    Schedule 1, item 6, page 5 (line 13), omit “10 penalty units”, substitute “50 penalty units”.

(3)    Schedule 1, item 6, page 5 (line 30), omit “10 penalty units”, substitute “50 penalty units”.

(4)    Schedule 1, item 7, page 6 (line 2), after “top”, insert “, bottom”.

I will just speak very briefly in relation to these matters. Amendment (1) to schedule 1 of the bill enables the new authorisation details on how-to-vote cards, which I will not go into in great depth, to be put either at the top or the bottom of the how-vote-card. This is a minor amendment. The other part of the schedule, relating to penalty units, is far more significant and I will speak briefly to that.

I am sure honourable senators are aware of the events that surrounded the South Australian state election where members of the Australian Labor Party were effectively masquerading as Family First booth workers. The government, to its credit I suppose, though it should never have got to this position, have moved to address that with amendments to the how-to-vote card, which we obviously support. The coalition’s view from day one in relation to this was that indeed 10 penalty units did not fit the crime, and our very strong view was that a minimum of 50 penalty units, $5½ thousand, was far more fitting to redress what occurred on that day in South Australia and hopefully to deter forever people who would seek to behave in this manner. Given the significant legislative program we have, I do not seek to make any further comments.

Question agreed to.