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Electoral and Referendum Amendment (How-to-Vote Cards and Other Measures) Bill 2010

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2008-2009-2010

 

THE PARLIAMENT OF THE COMMONWEALTH OF AUSTRALIA

 

SENATE

 

 

ELECTORAL AND REFERENDUM AMENDMENT (HOW-TO-VOTE CARDS AND OTHER MEASURES) BILL 2010

 

 

SUPPLEMENTARY EXPLANATORY MEMORANDUM

Amendments to be moved on behalf of the Government

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(Circulated by the authority of the Special Minister of State, Senator the Hon Joseph Ludwig)

 



AMENDMENTS TO ELECTORAL AND REFERENDUM AMENDMENT (HOW-TO-VOTE CARDS AND OTHER MEASURES) BILL 2010

OUTLINE

The Electoral and Referendum Amendment (How-to-Vote Cards and Other Measures) Bill 2010 (the Bill) amends the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918 (Electoral Act) and the Referendum (Machinery Provisions) Act 1984 (Referendum Act). 

As well as inserting a definition of a ‘how-to-vote card’ into the Electoral Act, the Bill also provides for specific and expanded authorisation requirements for how-to-vote cards.  A contravention of these requirements is an offence.

The Government amendments to the Bill refine the definition of a ‘how-to-vote’ card to more clearly distinguish between publications that are how-to-vote cards and publications that are not how-to-vote cards.

 

FINANCIAL IMPACT STATEMENT

There are no costs associated with the proposed amendments.

 

NOTES ON AMENDMENTS

Amendment (1) - Schedule 1, item 1, page 3 (lines 15 to 21)

1.         The amendment substitutes a revised paragraph (b) and paragraph (c) in the definition of ‘how-to-vote card’ inserted into the Electoral Act by Item 1 of Schedule 1 to the Bill.

2.         Where the definition in the Bill refers to ‘any or all of the candidates in an election’, the revised paragraph (b) limits a how-to-vote card to material that refers to two or more candidates or political parties.  By restricting the definition of a how-to-vote card to a list of preferences for two or more candidates or political parties, material simply saying ‘Vote 1 John Citizen’ which is not in the form of a ballot paper and does not indicate any further preferences for other candidates in the election, is not defined as a how-to-vote card.

3.         The revised paragraph (b) expands the definition of a how-to-vote card to include an indication of an order of preferences for two or more political parties.  For example, the definition of a how-to-vote card will now include a publication that indicates ‘Vote 1 Party X and Vote 2 Party Y’.

4.         Where the definition in the Bill referred to ‘a particular order of voting preference’, the revised paragraph (c) narrows the definition to capture only material that encourages voters to cast a second or further preference vote in a particular manner.  The amendment excludes encouragement for a last preference vote only.  For example, a pamphlet that stated, ‘Thinking of voting ‘Green’ Vote 2 for Party X’ would be a how-to-vote card, while a pamphlet that stated, ‘Vote Party Y last’ would not.  However, a pamphlet that states ‘Vote 1 for Party X and put Party Y last’ is captured by the revised definition as it indicates both a first preference and a last preference.  Without the proposed amendments, the definition would apply to material that is not traditionally thought of as a how-to-vote card.  For example, it would have applied to a newsletter, not in the form of a ballot paper, with the title ‘Vote 1 John Citizen’.