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Electoral and Referendum Amendment (Improving Electoral Administration) Bill 2013

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2010-2011-2012-2013

 

The Parliament of the

Commonwealth of Australia

 

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

 

 

 

Electoral and Referendum Amendment (Improving Electoral Administration) Bill 2012

 

 

(1)     Clause 2, page 2 (table item 2), omit “25”, substitute “24”.

[prematurely opened ballot-boxes]

(2)     Clause 2, page 2 (table item 5), omit “items 49 and 50”, substitute “item 50”.

[prematurely opened ballot-boxes]

(3)     Schedule 1, item 24, page 6 (line 15), after “officer”, insert “(the reporting officer )”.

[prematurely opened ballot-boxes]

(4)     Schedule 1, item 24, page 6 (lines 23 to 27), omit subsections 238B(3) and (4), substitute:

Report

             (3)  The reporting officer must prepare a report about the circumstances in which the ballot-box was opened before the close of the poll other than in accordance with this Act (including details of any witnesses).

Material to be given to DRO

             (4)  The reporting officer must give the report, parcel, ballot-box and any other thing the reporting officer considers appropriate to the DRO for the Division as soon as practicable.

Role of DRO

             (5)  The DRO for the Division must examine the report, parcel, ballot-box and any other thing given to the DRO under subsection (4) and then give them to the Australian Electoral Officer (the AEO ) for the State or Territory concerned.

Role of AEO

             (6)  The AEO must:

                     (a)  open the parcel and examine the ballot papers not enclosed in envelopes, the envelopes, the report, the ballot-box and any other thing given to the AEO under subsection (5); and

                     (b)  for each ballot paper not enclosed in an envelope—decide whether the ballot paper is to be included in the scrutiny under Part XVIII (see subsections (7) and (8)); and

                     (c)  for each envelope—decide whether the envelope is to be included in the preliminary scrutiny conducted in accordance with Schedule 3 (see subsections (9) and (10)).

             (7)  The AEO must decide that a ballot paper is to be included in the scrutiny under Part XVIII unless the AEO is satisfied that the ballot paper has been fraudulently altered or otherwise interfered with so as not to reflect the voter’s intention.

             (8)  If the AEO decides that a ballot paper is not to be included in the scrutiny under Part XVIII, the ballot paper is to be excluded from that scrutiny.

             (9)  The AEO must decide that an envelope is to be included in the preliminary scrutiny conducted in accordance with Schedule 3 unless the AEO is satisfied that the envelope has been fraudulently altered.

           (10)  If the AEO decides that an envelope is not to be included in the preliminary scrutiny conducted in accordance with Schedule 3, the envelope is to be excluded from that scrutiny.

           (11)  The AEO must, after examining all the ballot papers and envelopes:

                     (a)  place in a parcel the ballot papers that are to be included in the scrutiny under Part XVIII; and

                     (b)  place in another parcel the ballot papers that are to be excluded from the scrutiny under Part XVIII; and

                     (c)  place in another parcel the envelopes that are to be included in the preliminary scrutiny conducted in accordance with Schedule 3; and

                     (d)  place in another parcel the envelopes that are to be excluded from the preliminary scrutiny conducted in accordance with Schedule 3; and

                     (e)  seal each parcel; and

                      (f)  write on each parcel an indication of the type of ballot papers or envelopes enclosed and that the ballot-box has been prematurely opened; and

                     (g)  sign each parcel.

           (12)  The AEO must give the parcels referred to in paragraphs (11)(a) and (c) to the DRO for the Division, and the ballot papers or envelopes in the parcels are to be included in the scrutiny under Part XVIII or in the preliminary scrutiny conducted in accordance with Schedule 3, as the case requires.

           (13)  Before the declaration of the poll in the election, the AEO must advise the Electoral Commissioner and the candidates concerned of the following:

                     (a)  a ballot-box was opened before the close of the poll other than in accordance with this Act;

                     (b)  the number of ballot papers the AEO examined;

                     (c)  the number of ballot papers that were excluded from the scrutiny under Part XVIII because the AEO was satisfied that they had been fraudulently altered or otherwise interfered with so as not to reflect the voter’s intention;

                     (d)  the number of envelopes the AEO examined;

                     (e)  the number of envelopes that were excluded from the preliminary scrutiny conducted in accordance with Schedule 3 because the AEO was satisfied that they had been fraudulently altered.

Preservation of material

           (14)  The AEO is responsible for the safe custody, in accordance with the directions of the Electoral Commissioner, of the parcels referred to in paragraphs (11)(b) and (d), the ballot-box and the report and any other thing given to the AEO under subsection (5) until they are destroyed.

           (15)  Subject to Part XXII, the Electoral Commissioner may direct that the things referred to in subsection (14) be destroyed if:

                     (a)  not less than 6 months have elapsed since the declaration of the poll in the election in which the things were used; and

                     (b)  the things are no longer required by the Electoral Commission for the performance of its functions.

[prematurely opened ballot-boxes]

(5)     Schedule 1, item 25, page 6 (lines 28 and 29), omit the item.

[prematurely opened ballot-boxes]

(6)     Schedule 1, item 26, page 6 (line 30) to page 7 (line 5), omit the item, substitute:

26  At the end of subsection 248(2)

Add:

             ; and (c)  for section 238A—a reference in paragraph 238A(3)(b) to the Divisional Returning Officer for the Division is taken to be a reference to the Electoral Commission.

[prematurely opened ballot-boxes]

(7)     Schedule 1, page 7 (after line 7), after item 27, insert:

27A  Subsections 328B(2) and (3)

Repeal the subsections.

[how-to-vote cards]

(8)     Schedule 1, page 7, after proposed item 27A, insert:

27B  Paragraph 328B(4)(d)

Omit “subsections (1) and (2)”, substitute “subsection (1)”.

[how-to-vote cards]

(9)     Schedule 1, page 7, after proposed item 27B, insert:

27C  After section 339

Insert:

339A   Officers not to interfere with etc. ballot-boxes or ballot papers

                   An officer commits an offence if:

                     (a)  the officer does an act; and

                     (b)  the act results in the unlawful destruction of, taking of, opening of, or interference with, a ballot-box or a ballot paper.

Penalty:  Imprisonment for 6 months.

[officers not to interfere with etc. ballot-boxes or ballot papers]

(10)   Schedule 1, item 32, page 7 (line 26), after “officer”, insert “(the reporting officer )”.

[prematurely opened ballot-boxes]

(11)   Schedule 1, item 32, page 8 (lines 5 to 8), omit subsections 41AB(3) and (4), substitute:

Report

             (3)  The reporting officer must prepare a report about the circumstances in which the ballot-box was opened before the close of voting other than as mentioned in subsection 29(2) (including details of any witnesses).

Material to be given to DRO

             (4)  The reporting officer must give the report, parcel, ballot-box and any other thing the reporting officer considers appropriate to the DRO for the Division as soon as practicable.

Role of DRO

             (5)  The DRO for the Division must examine the report, parcel, ballot-box and any other thing given to the DRO under subsection (4) and then give them to the Australian Electoral Officer (the AEO ) for the State or Territory concerned.

Role of AEO

             (6)  The AEO must:

                     (a)  open the parcel and examine the ballot-papers not enclosed in envelopes, the envelopes, the report, the ballot-box and any other thing given to the AEO under subsection (5); and

                     (b)  for each ballot-paper not enclosed in an envelope—decide whether the ballot-paper is to be included in the scrutiny under Part VI (see subsections (7) and (8)); and

                     (c)  for each envelope—decide whether the envelope is to be included in the preliminary scrutiny conducted in accordance with Schedule 4 (see subsections (9) and (10)).

             (7)  The AEO must decide that a ballot-paper is to be included in the scrutiny under Part VI unless the AEO is satisfied that the ballot-paper has been fraudulently altered or otherwise interfered with so as not to reflect the voter’s intention.

             (8)  If the AEO decides that a ballot-paper is not to be included in the scrutiny under Part VI, the ballot-paper is to be excluded from that scrutiny.

             (9)  The AEO must decide that an envelope is to be included in the preliminary scrutiny conducted in accordance with Schedule 4 unless the AEO is satisfied that the envelope has been fraudulently altered.

           (10)  If the AEO decides that an envelope is not to be included in the preliminary scrutiny conducted in accordance with Schedule 4, the envelope is to be excluded from that scrutiny.

           (11)  The AEO must, after examining all the ballot-papers and envelopes:

                     (a)  place in a parcel the ballot-papers that are to be included in the scrutiny under Part VI; and

                     (b)  place in another parcel the ballot-papers that are to be excluded from the scrutiny under Part VI; and

                     (c)  place in another parcel the envelopes that are to be included in the preliminary scrutiny conducted in accordance with Schedule 4; and

                     (d)  place in another parcel the envelopes that are to be excluded from the preliminary scrutiny conducted in accordance with Schedule 4; and

                     (e)  seal each parcel; and

                      (f)  write on each parcel an indication of the type of ballot-papers or envelopes enclosed and that the ballot-box has been prematurely opened; and

                     (g)  sign each parcel.

           (12)  The AEO must give the parcels referred to in paragraphs (11)(a) and (c) to the DRO for the Division, and the ballot-papers or envelopes in the parcels are to be included in the scrutiny under Part VI or in the preliminary scrutiny conducted in accordance with Schedule 4, as the case requires.

           (13)  Before publication in the Gazette of the statement by the Electoral Commissioner showing the result of the referendum, the AEO must advise the Electoral Commissioner of the following:

                     (a)  a ballot-box was opened before the close of voting other than as mentioned in subsection 29(2);

                     (b)  the number of ballot-papers the AEO examined;

                     (c)  the number of ballot-papers that were excluded from the scrutiny under Part VI because the AEO was satisfied that they had been fraudulently altered or otherwise interfered with so as not to reflect the voter’s intention;

                     (d)  the number of envelopes the AEO examined;

                     (e)  the number of envelopes that were excluded from the preliminary scrutiny conducted in accordance with Schedule 4 because the AEO was satisfied that they had been fraudulently altered.

Preservation of material

           (14)  The AEO is responsible for the safe custody, in accordance with the directions of the Electoral Commissioner, of the parcels referred to in paragraphs (11)(b) and (d), the ballot-box and the report and any other thing given to the AEO under subsection (5) until they are destroyed.

           (15)  Subject to Part VIII, the Electoral Commissioner may direct that the things referred to in subsection (14) be destroyed if:

                     (a)  not less than 6 months have elapsed since the publication in the Gazette of the statement by the Electoral Commissioner showing the result of the referendum in which the things were used; and

                     (b)  the things are no longer required by the Electoral Commission for the performance of its functions.

[prematurely opened ballot-boxes]

(12)   Schedule 1, item 49, page 9 (lines 15 and 16), omit the item.

[prematurely opened ballot-boxes]

(13)   Schedule 1, item 50, page 9 (lines 17 to 22), omit the item, substitute:

50  At the end of subsection 75(2)

Add:

             ; and (c)  for section 41AA—a reference in paragraph 41AA(3)(b) to the DRO for the Division is taken to be a reference to the Electoral Commission.

[prematurely opened ballot-boxes]

(14)   Schedule 1, page 9 (after line 24), after item 51, insert:

51A  After section 130

Insert:

130A   Officers not to interfere with etc. ballot-boxes or ballot-papers

                   An officer commits an offence if:

                     (a)  the officer does an act; and

                     (b)  the act results in the unlawful destruction of, taking of, opening of, or interference with, a ballot-box or a ballot-paper.

Penalty:  Imprisonment for 6 months.

[officers not to interfere with etc. ballot-boxes or ballot papers]