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Carbon Tax Plebiscite Bill 2011 [No. 2]

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2011

THE PARLIAMENT OF THE COMMONWEALTH OF AUSTRALIA

THE SENATE

 

 

 

 

Carbon Tax Plebiscite Bill 2011

EXPLANATORY MEMORANDUM

The Leader of the Opposition in the Senate, Senator Abetz

 

 

 

 

 



Carbon Tax Plebiscite Bill 2011

General Outline

1.       The Bill proposes that a question relating to the introduction of a carbon tax be submitted to the Australian people through a national plebiscite.

 

2.       The Bill requires that the Minister responsible for the administration of the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918 cause a specified question to be put to the Australian people no later than the last Saturday in November 2011.

 

3.       The Bill proposes a question to be put through the plebiscite, where electors are to be asked “Do you support the Government’s plan to introduce a price on carbon to deal with climate change?”

 

4.       The submission of the question and the scrutiny of the result of the plebiscite will be dealt with in the same manner as a referendum under the application of the Referendum (Machinery Provisions) Act 1984 .

 

5.       As soon as practicable after the plebiscite the Electoral Commissioner is required to provide the Minister with a statement setting out the results. The Bill requires the Minister to subsequently table the same statement to each House of Parliament.

 

Financial Impact

 

1.       The Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) is funded through the Budget process for normal, anticipated elections. The AEC gets additional funding should a by-election or other unanticipated election be required.

 

2.       In the event of an unanticipated federal election the AEC approaches the Department of Finance and Deregulation for funding which is drawn out of the Advance to the Finance Minister (Appropriation Bill 1, 2011-12, section 13).

 

3.       An Advance to the Finance Minister (AFM) enables the Finance Minister to provide additional urgently needed appropriation to agencies for expenditure in the current year. The Finance Minister may only agree to issuing an AFM if satisfied that there is an urgent need for expenditure that is either not provided for or has been insufficiently provided for in the existing appropriations of the agency.  In the 2011-12 Budget the Government has allowed $295 million to be spent on such items.

 

4.       There exists a long-standing procedure for the AEC to receive funding for an unexpected election or referendum.  The Government has money set aside under the Advance to the Finance Minister provisions to fund this.

 



5.           

Notes on clauses

Clause 1 - Short title

This clause provides for the Act to be cited as the Carbon Tax Plebiscite Act 2011 .

Clause 2 - Commencement

This clause provides that the Act commences on the day on which it receives the Royal Assent.

Clause 3 - Definitions

References to electors and Minister are defined by this clause.

Clause 4 - Objects of the Act

This clause describes the objects of the Act.  The objects are to hold a national plebiscite to allow the views of Australian electors to be determined on the issue of a carbon tax being made law.

Clause 5 - National plebiscite to be held

This clause requires the Minister to submit the question outlined in clause 6 to the electors through the process of a national plebiscite. This clause requires that this plebiscite takes place no later than the last Saturday in November 2011.

Clause 6 - Question to be submitted to electors

This clause specifies the question which is to be put to the electors at the pursuant to clause 5. This clause defines the question as “Do you support the Government’s plan to introduce a price on carbon to deal with climate change?”

Clause 7 - Results of plebiscite

This clause requires the Electoral Commissioner to provide a statement outlining the results of the plebiscite to the Minister. The clause sets out a further requirement that the Minister is to present a copy of the statement to each House of Parliament as soon as practicable.

Clause 8 - Application of Referendum (Machinery Provisions) Act 1984

The purpose of this clause is to provide that submission of the question pursuant to clause 6 and the subsequent scrutiny of the result of the plebiscite is the same, in application, as that of a referendum under the operation of the Referendum (Machinery Provisions) Act 1984 .

Clause 9 - Regulations

This clause provides for the making of regulations described elsewhere in the Act or necessary for its administration.