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Thursday, 7 February 2013
Page: 500


Senator FAULKNER (New South Wales) (13:56): The Electoral and Referendum Amendment (Improving Electoral Procedure) Bill 2012 does contain practical measures to enhance Australia's electoral laws. The bill implements three recommendations made by the Joint Standing Committee on Electoral Matters in its report on the conduct of the 2010 election. The bill also makes a number of amendments related to recommendations of the Joint Standing Committee on Electoral Matters and, as we have heard, includes some technical amendments to electoral laws.

The government routinely looks to the Joint Standing Committee on Electoral Matters for comments, advice and scrutiny on electoral law reform. The provisions of this bill are consistent with that longstanding practice. The particular recommendations of the joint committee that are picked up in this bill are its recommendation 12 to amend the Commonwealth Electoral Act and the Referendum (Machinery Provisions) Act to specifically allow for the automated issuing of postal votes by the AEC, recommendation 31 to amend the Commonwealth Electoral Act to increase the sum to be deposited for nominating for election as a senator from $1,000 to $2,000, and recommendation 32 to amend the act to increase the sum to be deposited for nominating for election as a member of the House of Representatives from $500 to $1,000. The bill also makes amendments to increase the number of electors required to nominate a candidate for federal parliament as either a member of the House of Representatives or a senator. The bill will also result in some important machinery reforms to electoral law.

The amendments in schedule 1 of the bill will certainly simplify and improve administration of postal voting. The framework of our electoral system is built around Australians voting in person at their local polling booth on election day, with any other form of voting being the exception.

Debate interrupted.