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New electoral enrolment form will not stop fraud.

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John Faulkner - New Electoral Enrolment Form Will Not Stop Fraud //media/0901/jfmseef130901.html Friday, 14 September 2001

New Electoral Enrolment Form Will Not Stop Fraud John Faulkner - Shadow Minister for Public Administration

Media Statement - 13 September 2001

The new electoral enrolment regulations which today were signed off by the Governor General will in no way impede people wanting to commit electoral fraud, Shadow Minister for Public Administration, Senator John Faulkner said.

"The Federal Government's decision to split from the States in their joint management of the Roll is a retrograde step, and very disappointing.

"The Australian Electoral Commission, and State Governments around Australia have pointed out to Senator Abetz and the Government for some time that the new witnessing regulations are flawed, but to no avail," Senator Faulkner said.

The Liberal Party has been pushing its model for enrolment witnessing for more than five years, long before the Shepherdson Inquiry. They have not listened to the evidence from experts, presented to JSCEM and to Sherpherdson.

"The question is why, at the eleventh hour, just before the 2001 election, has the Government put through regulations to change the enrolment form?

"The answer is - they want to add confusion, impede enrolments, and put off young people, indigenous people and itinerants from enrolling.

"The new enrolment form is a trick to enhance the Government's electoral prospects, and the timing of its introduction confirms this. The form has the capacity to deter enrolment, especially in the very busy period before the election," Senator Faulkner said.

"The hurdles the Government says that it is putting up to stop electoral fraud are a joke. The AEC has not got the capacity to check the job category of a witness the Government has listed. The AEC has no employment data and could never properly check, for example, if the witness said they were an airline employee or a building society officer. But that is what the Government says they have to do to stop fraud.

The way to prevent fraud against the electoral roll on any scale is to work with the States to increase data matching, roll monitoring and enhance penalties.

This is the view of the AEC, the State Governments of NSW, Queensland, Victoria, Tasmania and Western Australia, Professor Colin Hughes and the Labor Opposition.

"There have been many offers to work together to stop fraud, but the Government insists that its flawed and expensive changes to electoral enrolment are the only way stop fraud. They are alone in that view." Authorised by Geoff Walsh, 19 National Circuit, Barton ACT 2600.