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Enrolment and voting legislation introduced

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Media Release GG 07/10 24 November 2010

Enrolment and Voting Legislation Introduced

Special Minister of State Gary Gray today introduced legislation into the Parliament that will give effect to two decisions of the High Court of Australia.

The decisions in Rowe v Electoral Commissioner (concerning the close of rolls period) and Roach v Electoral Commissioner (concerning the franchise for people serving a sentence of imprisonment) reversed amendments made to the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918 in 2006 and restored the arrangements that applied before this time.

“This Bill, though narrow in its scope, is important,” Mr Gray said.

“In my view, it is appropriate for the Parliament to respond to these two decisions of the High Court of Australia to ensure that the Electoral Act reflects the current state of the law.”

The Electoral and Referendum Amendment (Enrolment and Prisoner Voting) Bill 2010 will align the text of the Electoral Act to reflect the High Court’s decision, to:

restore the close of rolls period to seven days after the date of the writ for a federal election; and •

reinstate the previous disqualification for prisoners serving a sentence of imprisonment of three years or longer, from voting at a federal election. •

Amendments to the Referendum (Machinery Provisions) Act 1984 will also be made to ensure consistency between the two Acts.

Additionally, the Bill will implement the Government’s Response to Recommendation 47 of the Joint Standing Committee on Electoral Matters Report on the conduct of the 2007 federal election and matters related thereto. In doing so, the Bill will ensure that while prisoners serving a sentence of imprisonment of three years or longer are disqualified from voting, they may remain on, or be added to, the electoral roll.

Media Contact: Website:

Astrid Serventy — 0407 383 117

Last Updated: 24 November, 2010

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