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Wednesday, 6 May 1987
Page: 2438

Senator BUTTON (Minister for Industry, Technology and Commerce)(7.19) —I thought Senator Ryan answered that question in her response to the second reading debate. I do not know whether Senator Archer was here at the time. Would he like me to go through it again?

Senator Archer —Yes, thank you.

Senator BUTTON —I am advised that the definition is in two parts. Clause 3(b) inserts this provision:

`electoral matter' means matter which is intended or likely to affect voting in an election.

This is regarded as a more meaningful expression than some of the present definitions which are expressed in terms of matter `likely to affect the result of an election'. I take it that Senator Archer follows that distinction.

Clause 3(e) inserts a new sub-section (9) in section 4 of the principal Act. The matters set out at paragraphs (a) to (f) are a legislative statement of matters that shall be taken to be intended, or likely, to effect voting at an election. They are the specifics of what I referred to a minute ago. The need for such a legislative statement of matters that may be encompassed by the more general definition is supported by the Director of Public Prosecutions, as set out in the Australian Electoral Commission submissions to the Joint Select Committee on Electoral Reform. It is not possible to provide the sort of itemised list sought by Senator Archer over and above what is in new section 4 (9) (a) to (f), but new sub-section (9) would, for example, cover historical material such as an attack on the record of the Lang Government of the 1930s or matters raised by a group of citizens who are not candidates or supporting a particular party-for example, a group of sugar growers who had complained about the closure of their sugar mill and the performance of either government or opposition, or both, in looking after the sugar industry. I take it that answer is satisfactory.

Clauses agreed to.

Clause 5 (Times at which redistributions are to commence).

The CHAIRMAN —Senator Vigor has an amendment to clause 5 and related amendments to clauses 7 and 15 and to Schedule 2. I think it would expedite the proceedings of the Committee if all those were taken together. If there is no objection to that course it will be followed.