Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
 Download Current HansardDownload Current Hansard    View Or Save XMLView/Save XML

Previous Fragment    Next Fragment
Tuesday, 7 February 2017
Page: 79

Mr GILES (Scullin) (16:57): On behalf of the Joint Standing Committee on Electoral Matters, I present the committee's report entitled The 2016federal election: interim report on the authorisation of voter communication, and I ask leave of the House to make a short statement in connection with the report.

Leave granted.

Mr GILES: This will be a very brief series of remarks in connection with the first of several reports from this important committee. I am very pleased that the six recommendations contained in this report proceed in a bipartisan—or I should probably say consensus—manner. They deal with a small but significant aspect of the committee's work in respect of looking back at the 2016 federal election and its conduct but, much more importantly, in particular in the context of an environment where trust in politics needs to be reaffirmed by the actions of all of us in this place, individually but also through our collective actions to advance the standard of political debate and political engagement.

This report deals with the authorisation of voting material, and I am pleased that we have moved beyond what has been a piecemeal approach to various forms of authorisation to an approach which is anchored in principles—three core principles supported by a wider purpose recognising the interests of all Australians in a free and frank exchange of ideas about politics—a free and frank political exchange in election periods in particular. This principles based approach is absolutely critical to ensuring that we can proceed with confidence in respect of these critical questions around campaigning, recognising that, as we stand here today, we do not have a crystal ball which enables us to consider how technological changes will impact on the conduct of future elections.

I look forward to the consideration of these recommendations and to participating in the further important work of this committee in improving the democratic standards, accountability and opportunities for all Australians to effectively participate in the political process. I also acknowledge the work of the chair of this committee, Senator Reynolds, her staff, the committee secretariat and the AEC technical adviser for their important, professional and effective work going to the preparation of this interim report but also in the conduct of complex and comprehensive hearings around Australia.