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Electoral and Referendum Legislation Amendment Bill 2007

Schedule 1 Postal voting

   

Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918

1  Subsection 4(1)

Insert:

AFP officer or staff member means:

                     (a)  a member or special member of the Australian Federal Police, within the meaning of the Australian Federal Police Act 1979 ; or

                     (b)  a special protective service officer, within the meaning of that Act; or

                     (c)  an AFP employee, within the meaning of that Act; or

                     (d)  a person assisting the Australian Federal Police in the performance of its functions under an agreement under section 69D of that Act.

2  Subsection 4(1)

Insert:

capital city office of the Electoral Commission has the meaning given by subsection 90A(3).

3  Subsection 4(1)

Insert:

defence civilian has the same meaning as in the Defence Force Discipline Act 1982 .

4  Subsection 4(1)

Insert:

defence member has the same meaning as in the Defence Force Discipline Act 1982 .

5  After subsection 90B(8)

Insert:

Certain information about defence and AFP personnel not to be disclosed

          (8A)  Nothing in this section (or in an arrangement under section 84) allows or requires the Electoral Commission to give a person or organisation information that the Electoral Commission is aware would or might enable any of the following to be ascertained:

                     (a)  the fact that a particular person has been, is or will be serving outside Australia as:

                              (i)  a defence member or a defence civilian; or

                             (ii)  an AFP officer or staff member;

                     (b)  the place where a particular person has been, is or will be serving outside Australia in a capacity referred to in subparagraph (a)(i) or (ii);

                     (c)  the period of time when a particular person has been, is or will be serving outside Australia in a capacity referred to in subparagraph (a)(i) or (ii);

                     (d)  without limiting any of the preceding paragraphs—the postal address of a person who is serving outside Australia in a capacity referred to in subparagraph (a)(i) or (ii);

                     (e)  any other information of a kind specified in the regulations, being information that relates to persons who have been, are or will be serving outside Australia in a capacity referred to in subparagraph (a)(i) or (ii).

6  Subsection 184(5)

Repeal the subsection, substitute:

             (5)  An application for a postal vote fails to meet the deadline if it is not received by the DRO or Assistant Returning Officer to whom it is directed until after 6 pm on the Thursday that is 2 days before polling day in the election.

             (6)  If an application for a postal vote fails to meet the deadline, the DRO or Assistant Returning Officer to whom the application was directed must make, or arrange for the making of, reasonable efforts to advise the applicant that his or her application for a postal vote failed to meet the deadline, and that the applicant will have to vote by other means.

7  At the end of subsection 184A(2)

Add:

                    ; (i)  the applicant is a defence member, or defence civilian, who is serving outside Australia;

                      (j)  the applicant is an AFP officer or staff member who is serving outside Australia;

                     (k)  the applicant is an eligible overseas elector.

8  At the end of section 184A

Add:

             (5)  An elector may apply on the ground referred to in paragraph (2)(i) or (j) before he or she has left Australia.

             (6)  The regulations may specify whether a particular situation does, or does not, constitute serving outside Australia for the purposes of paragraph (2)(i) or (j). The regulations have effect accordingly.

9  Subsection 185(1)

Omit “If”, substitute “Subject to subsection (1A), if”.

10  After subsection 185(1)

Insert:

          (1A)  If, as permitted by subsection 184A(5), an elector applies to be registered as a general postal voter on the ground referred to in paragraph 184A(2)(i) or (j) before he or she has left Australia, the DRO to whom the application is made must not register the applicant as a general postal voter until the DRO believes, on reasonable grounds, that the elector has left Australia.

          (1B)  For the purposes of subsection (1A), in considering whether he or she believes, on reasonable grounds, that an elector has left Australia, the DRO:

                     (a)  may have regard to information included in the elector’s application relating to his or her likely date of departure; and

                     (b)  is not required to obtain, or have regard to, other information, but may obtain, and have regard to, other information if the DRO considers it appropriate to do so.

11  After subsection 185(4)

Insert:

          (4A)  Nothing in paragraphs (4)(b) and (c) allows or requires a DRO to include in the Register information that the DRO is aware would or might enable any of the following to be ascertained:

                     (a)  the fact that a particular person has been, is or will be serving outside Australia as:

                              (i)  a defence member or a defence civilian; or

                             (ii)  an AFP officer or staff member;

                     (b)  the place where a particular person has been, is or will be serving outside Australia in a capacity referred to in subparagraph (a)(i) or (ii);

                     (c)  the period of time when a particular person has been, is or will be serving outside Australia in a capacity referred to in subparagraph (a)(i) or (ii);

                     (d)  without limiting any of the preceding paragraphs—the postal address of a person who is serving outside Australia in a capacity referred to in subparagraph (a)(i) or (ii);

                     (e)  any other information of a kind specified in the regulations, being information that relates to persons who have been, are or will be serving outside Australia in a capacity referred to in subparagraph (a)(i) or (ii).

12  Subsection 188(1)

Omit “shall post or arrange to be delivered to the applicant”, substitute “must (unless the application fails to meet the deadline as mentioned in subsection 184(5)) send, or arrange for the sending, to the applicant in accordance with whichever of subsections (2), (3) and (4) of this section applies”.

13  Subsection 188(2)

Repeal the subsection, substitute:

             (2)  Subject to subsection (3), if the DRO or Assistant Returning Officer receives the application for a postal vote at or before 6 pm on the Friday that is 8 days before polling day in the election, the material required by subsection (1) must be sent to the applicant by post or by another means (not being an electronic means, such as fax or email).

             (3)  If:

                     (a)  the DRO or Assistant Returning Officer receives the application for a postal vote at or before 6 pm on the Friday that is 8 days before polling day in the election; and

                     (b)  in accordance with the approved form referred to in subsection 184(1), the applicant has requested a particular means of delivery (not being an electronic means such as fax or email); and

                     (c)  the DRO or Assistant Returning Officer considers that that means is reasonable and practicable in the circumstances;

the material required by subsection (1) must be sent to the applicant by that means.

             (4)  If the DRO or Assistant Returning Officer receives the application for a postal vote after 6 pm on the Friday that is 8 days before polling day in the election and at or before 6 pm on the Thursday that is 2 days before polling day in the election, the material required by subsection (1) must be sent to the applicant by the means (not being an electronic means such as fax or email) that the DRO or Assistant Returning Officer considers is the most reasonable and practicable in the circumstances.

Note:          If the application is received after 6 pm on the Thursday that is 2 days before polling day in the election, it fails to meet the deadline (see subsection 184(5)), and therefore no material is required by subsection (1) to be sent to the applicant.

14  At the end of paragraph 194(2)(c)

Add “or”.

15  Paragraph 194(2)(e)

Omit “any presiding officer”, substitute “a presiding officer (other than an electoral visitor or mobile polling team leader who is deemed to be a presiding officer)”.

16  At the end of subsection 194(2)

Add:

               ; or (f)  be handed to an electoral visitor when the electoral visitor:

                              (i)  is visiting a special hospital for the purpose of taking votes under section 225; or

                             (ii)  is visiting a prison for the purpose of taking votes under section 226A; or

                     (g)  be handed to a mobile polling team leader when the team is at a station for the purpose of taking votes under section 227; or

                     (h)  be handed, before the close of the poll, to a person who is at a capital city office of the Electoral Commission and who is:

                              (i)  the holder of a particular office provided for by Division 3 or 4 of Part II; or

                             (ii)  a member of the staff of the Electoral Commission (not being the holder of a particular office referred to in subparagraph (i)) who is engaged under the Public Service Act 1999 as an ongoing APS employee within the meaning of that Act, or who is employed under paragraph 35(1)(b) of this Act.

17  Subsection 194(3)

Omit “A DRO, Assistant Returning Officer, presiding officer or pre-poll voting officer”, substitute “A person”.

18  Subsection 194(3)

Omit “or delivered”, substitute “, delivered or handed”.

19  Subsection 195A(1)

Repeal the subsection, substitute:

             (1)  In this section:

officer means:

                     (a)  a pre-poll voting officer; or

                     (b)  a presiding officer; or

                     (c)  the holder of a particular office (other than a DRO) provided for by Division 3 or 4 of Part II; or

                     (d)  an electoral visitor; or

                     (e)  a mobile polling team leader; or

                      (f)  a member of the staff of the Electoral Commission referred to in subparagraph 194(2)(h)(ii).

presiding officer does not include an electoral visitor or mobile polling team leader who is deemed to be a presiding officer.

20  Paragraph 195A(2)(d)

Repeal the paragraph, substitute:

                     (d)  sign the endorsement, adding the appropriate designation (see subsection (3));

21  Paragraphs 195A(2)(f) and (g)

Repeal the paragraphs, substitute:

                      (f)  deal with the envelope in accordance with whichever of subsections (4), (5) and (6) applies.

22  At the end of section 195A

Add:

             (3)  For the purposes of paragraph (2)(d), the appropriate designation is as set out in the following table.

 

Item

If the person signing the endorsement is ...

the appropriate designation is ...

1

a DRO

the words “Divisional Returning Officer”.

2

a pre-poll voting officer

the words “Pre-poll Voting Officer”.

3

a presiding officer

the words “Presiding Officer”.

4

an electoral visitor

the words “Electoral Visitor”.

5

a mobile polling team leader

the words “Mobile Polling Team Leader”.

6

the holder of any other office provided for by Division 3 or 4 of Part II

the title of the office.

7

a member of the staff of the Electoral Commission referred to in subparagraph 194(2)(h)(ii)

the words “Member of the Staff of the Electoral Commission”.

             (4)  If an envelope purporting to bear a postal vote is received as mentioned in subsection (2) by a DRO, or by an officer who is:

                     (a)  a pre-poll voting officer; or

                     (b)  a presiding officer; or

                     (c)  an Assistant Returning Officer who is outside Australia;

the DRO or officer must (after complying with the other requirements of subsection (2)):

                     (d)  place the envelope in a ballot-box; and

                     (e)  keep the envelope in the ballot-box until the envelope is dealt with in accordance with section 228.

             (5)  If an envelope purporting to bear a postal vote is received as mentioned in subsection (2) by an officer who is an electoral visitor or a mobile polling team leader, the officer must (after complying with the other requirements of subsection (2)):

                     (a)  place the envelope in a ballot-box; and

                     (b)  keep the envelope in the ballot-box until the ballot-box is forwarded to the designated Assistant Returning Officer as required by whichever of subsections 225(8), 226A(7) and 227(10) is applicable; and

                     (c)  when so forwarding the ballot-box to the designated Assistant Returning Officer, also forward to that Assistant Returning Officer the record made by the electoral visitor or mobile polling team leader under paragraph (2)(e).

             (6)  If an envelope purporting to bear a postal vote is received as mentioned in subsection (2) by an officer (other than an officer referred to in subsection (4) or (5)) who is at a capital city office of the Electoral Commission:

                     (a)  the officer must (after complying with subsection (2)) place the envelope in a ballot-box made available for the purpose by the DRO for the Division in which the capital city office is located; and

                     (b)  the ballot-box containing the envelope must be forwarded to the DRO, or made available to be collected by the DRO, in accordance with instructions of the DRO; and

                     (c)  until the ballot-box is so forwarded or collected, the envelope must be kept in the ballot-box; and

                     (d)  the record made by the officer under paragraph (2)(e) must be forwarded to the DRO, or made available to be collected by the DRO, in accordance with instructions of the DRO.

             (7)  Instructions referred to in paragraphs (6)(b) and (d) are not legislative instruments.

23  Paragraph 228(2)(a)

Omit “presiding officer’s record made under subsection 232(2) or in any other records forwarded by the presiding officer”, substitute “relevant records forwarded to the Assistant Returning Officer under this Act”.

24  After subsection 228(3)

Insert:

          (3A)  Each DRO to whom ballot-boxes are forwarded, or by whom ballot-boxes are collected, as mentioned in paragraph 195A(6)(b):

                     (a)  must compare the records forwarded to or collected by the DRO as mentioned in paragraph 195A(6)(d) with the envelopes in the ballot-boxes and note any discrepancy; and

                     (b)  except as necessary for the purposes of paragraph (a), keep the envelopes in one or more securely fastened ballot-boxes until the envelopes are dealt with under other provisions of this Act.

Referendum (Machinery Provisions) Act 1984

25  Subsection 3(1)

Insert:

capital city office of the Electoral Commission has the meaning given by subsection 90A(3) of the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918 .

26  Paragraph 46A(2)(a)

Omit “presiding officer’s record made under subsection 34(2) or in any other records forwarded by the presiding officer”, substitute “relevant records forwarded to the Assistant Returning Officer under this Act”.

27  After subsection 46A(3)

Insert:

          (3A)  Each DRO to whom ballot-boxes are forwarded, or by whom ballot-boxes are collected, as mentioned in paragraph 67(6)(b):

                     (a)  must compare the records forwarded to or collected by the DRO as mentioned in paragraph 67(6)(d) with the envelopes in the ballot-boxes and note any discrepancy; and

                     (b)  except as necessary for the purposes of paragraph (a), keep the envelopes in one or more securely-fastened ballot-boxes until the envelopes are dealt with under other provisions of this Act.

28  Subsection 55(5)

Repeal the subsection, substitute:

             (5)  An application for a postal vote fails to meet the deadline if it is not received by the DRO or Assistant Returning Officer to whom it is directed until after 6 pm on the Thursday that is 2 days before voting day in the referendum.

             (6)  If an application for a postal vote fails to meet the deadline, the DRO or Assistant Returning Officer to whom the application was directed must make, or arrange for the making of, reasonable efforts to advise the applicant that his or her application for a postal vote failed to meet the deadline, and that the applicant will have to vote by other means.

29  Subsection 61(1)

Omit “shall post or arrange to be delivered to the applicant”, substitute “must (unless the application fails to meet the deadline as mentioned in subsection 55(5)) send, or arrange for the sending, to the applicant in accordance with whichever of subsections (2), (2A) and (2B) of this section applies”.

30  Subsection 61(2)

Repeal the subsection, substitute:

             (2)  Subject to subsection (2A), if the DRO or Assistant Returning Officer receives the application for a postal vote at or before 6 pm on the Friday that is 8 days before voting day in the referendum, the material required by subsection (1) must be sent to the applicant by post or by another means (not being an electronic means, such as fax or email).

          (2A)  If:

                     (a)  the DRO or Assistant Returning Officer receives the application for a postal vote at or before 6 pm on the Friday that is 8 days before voting day in the referendum; and

                     (b)  in accordance with the approved form referred to in subsection 55(1), the applicant has requested a particular means of delivery (not being an electronic means such as fax or email); and

                     (c)  the DRO or Assistant Returning Officer considers that that means is reasonable and practicable in the circumstances;

the material required by subsection (1) must be sent to the applicant by that means.

          (2B)  If the DRO or Assistant Returning Officer receives the application for a postal vote after 6 pm on the Friday that is 8 days before voting day in the referendum and at or before 6 pm on the Thursday that is 2 days before voting day in the referendum, the material required by subsection (1) must be sent to the applicant by the means (not being an electronic means such as fax or email) that the DRO or Assistant Returning Officer considers is the most reasonable and practicable in the circumstances.

Note:          If the application is received after 6 pm on the Thursday that is 2 days before voting day in the referendum, it fails to meet the deadline (see subsection 55(5)), and therefore no material is required by subsection (1) to be sent to the applicant.

31  At the end of paragraph 65(2)(c)

Add “or”.

32  Paragraph 65(2)(e)

Omit “any presiding officer”, substitute “a presiding officer (other than an electoral visitor or mobile polling team leader who is deemed to be a presiding officer)”.

33  At the end of subsection 65(2)

Add:

               ; or (f)  be handed to an electoral visitor when the electoral visitor:

                              (i)  is visiting a special hospital for the purpose of taking votes under section 49; or

                             (ii)  is visiting a prison for the purpose of taking votes under section 49A; or

                     (g)  be handed to a mobile polling team leader when the team is at a station for the purpose of taking votes under section 51; or

                     (h)  be handed, before the close of the poll, to a person who is at a capital city office of the Electoral Commission and who is:

                              (i)  the holder of a particular office provided for by Division 3 or 4 of Part II of the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918 or by section 5 or 6 of this Act ; or

                             (ii)  a member of the staff of the Electoral Commission (not being the holder of a particular office referred to in subparagraph (i)) who is engaged under the Public Service Act 1999 as an ongoing APS employee within the meaning of that Act, or who is employed under paragraph 35(1)(b) of the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918 .

34  Subsection 65(3)

Omit “A DRO, Assistant Returning Officer, presiding officer or pre-poll voting officer”, substitute “A person”.

35  Subsection 65(3)

Omit “or delivered”, substitute “, delivered or handed”.

36  Subsection 67(1)

Repeal the subsection, substitute:

             (1)  In this section:

officer means:

                     (a)  a pre-poll voting officer; or

                     (b)  a presiding officer; or

                     (c)  the holder of a particular office (other than a DRO) provided for by Division 3 or 4 of Part II of the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918 or by section 5 or 6 of this Act; or

                     (d)  an electoral visitor; or

                     (e)  a mobile polling team leader; or

                      (f)  a member of the staff of the Electoral Commission referred to in subparagraph 65(2)(h)(ii).

presiding officer does not include an electoral visitor or mobile polling team leader who is deemed to be a presiding officer.

37  Paragraph 67(2)(d)

Repeal the paragraph, substitute:

                     (d)  sign the endorsement, adding the appropriate designation (see subsection (3));

38  Paragraphs 67(2)(f) and (g)

Repeal the paragraphs, substitute:

                      (f)  deal with the envelope in accordance with whichever of subsections (4), (5) and (6) applies.

39  At the end of section 67

Add:

             (3)  For the purposes of paragraph (2)(d), the appropriate designation is as set out in the following table.

 

Item

If the person signing the endorsement is ...

the appropriate designation is ...

1

a DRO

the words “Divisional Returning Officer”.

2

a pre-poll voting officer

the words “Pre-poll Voting Officer”.

3

a presiding officer

the words “Presiding Officer”.

4

an electoral visitor

the words “Electoral Visitor”.

5

a mobile polling team leader

the words “Mobile Polling Team Leader”.

6

the holder of any other office provided for by Division 3 or 4 of Part II of the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918 or by section 5 or 6 of this Act

the title of the office.

7

a member of the staff of the Electoral Commission referred to in subparagraph 65(2)(h)(ii)

the words “Member of the Staff of the Electoral Commission”.

             (4)  If an envelope purporting to bear a postal vote is received as mentioned in subsection (2) by a DRO, or by an officer who is:

                     (a)  a pre-poll voting officer; or

                     (b)  a presiding officer; or

                     (c)  an Assistant Returning Officer who is outside Australia;

the DRO or officer must (after complying with the other requirements of subsection (2)):

                     (d)  place the envelope in a ballot-box; and

                     (e)  keep the envelope in the ballot-box until the envelope is dealt with in accordance with section 46A.

             (5)  If an envelope purporting to bear a postal vote is received as mentioned in subsection (2) by an officer who is an electoral visitor or a mobile polling team leader, the officer must (after complying with the other requirements of subsection (2)):

                     (a)  place the envelope in a ballot-box; and

                     (b)  keep the envelope in the ballot-box until the ballot-box is forwarded to the designated Assistant Returning Officer as required by whichever of subsections 49(8), 49A(7) and 51(10) is applicable; and

                     (c)  when so forwarding the ballot-box to the designated Assistant Returning Officer, also forward to that Assistant Returning Officer the record made by the electoral visitor or mobile polling team leader under paragraph (2)(e).

             (6)  If an envelope purporting to bear a postal vote is received as mentioned in subsection (2) by an officer (other than an officer referred to in subsection (4) or (5)) who is at a capital city office of the Electoral Commission:

                     (a)  the officer must (after complying with subsection (2)) place the envelope in a ballot-box made available for the purpose by the DRO for the Division in which the capital city office is located; and

                     (b)  the ballot-box containing the envelope must be forwarded to the DRO, or made available to be collected by the DRO, in accordance with instructions of the DRO; and

                     (c)  until the ballot-box is so forwarded or collected, the envelope must be kept in the ballot-box; and

                     (d)  the record made by the officer under paragraph (2)(e) must be forwarded to the DRO, or made available to be collected by the DRO, in accordance with instructions of the DRO.

             (7)  Instructions referred to in paragraphs (6)(b) and (d) are not legislative instruments.