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Wednesday, 13 September 2017
Page: 7098


Senator DI NATALE (VictoriaLeader of the Australian Greens) (11:16): by leave—I move amendments (1) to (8) on sheet 8219:

(1) Clause 4, page 3 (after line 31), after paragraph (a), insert:

; (ab) the ability of all enrolled persons, including persons aged 16 and 17, to express their views by ensuring that steps are taken to update the electoral rolls prior to, and during, the period in which the marriage law survey process is conducted;

(2) Clause 5, page 4 (line 18), omit "In", substitute "(1) In".

(3) Clause 5, page 5 (after line 29), after the definition of civil penalty provision, insert:

claim for enrolment, by a person, means a claim by a person who has turned 16, but is under 18, to have his or her name placed on the electoral roll in accordance with section 100 of the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918.

(4) Clause 5, page 6 (after line 14), after the definition of Electoral Commissioner, insert:

electoral roll means an electoral roll under the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918.

(5) Clause 5, page 6 (lines 15 to 17), omit the definition of enrolled person, substitute:

enrolled person means a person:

(a) enrolled on the electoral roll at any time during the limitation period; or

(b) who has made a valid application for enrolment on the electoral roll before, or at any time during, the late enrolment period; or

(c) whose name is on the electoral roll, at any time during the limitation period, as a result of a claim for enrolment by the person; or

(d) who has made a valid claim for enrolment before, or at any time during, the late enrolment period; or

(e) who has received a notice from the Electoral Commissioner under subsection 103B(2) of the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918 as applied by section 12B of this Act, before, or at any time during, the late enrolment period, but only if the details of the notice are correct.

Note 1: Paragraph (a) includes a person who is an eligible overseas elector.

Note 2: Paragraph (b) includes a person who has applied for enrolment from outside Australia.

Note 3: Paragraphs (c) and (d) refer to a person who has turned 16, but is under 18, years of age.

Note 4: Paragraph (e) refers to a person who the Electoral Commissioner is satisfied is entitled to be enrolled or to make a claim for enrolment.

(6) Clause 5, page 6 (after line 18), after the definition of Federal Court, insert:

late enrolment period means the period:

(a) beginning at the end of 24 August 2017; and

(b) ending at the end of the 14th day before the end of the limitation period.

(7) Clause 5, page 8 (after line 28), at the end of the clause, add:

Definition of elector

(2) Despite the definition of elector in subsection 3(4) of the Census and Statistics (Statistical Information) Direction 2017, an elector, for the purposes of the marriage law survey process and that direction, is taken to include a person who is an enrolled person within the meaning of this Act.

(8) Page 19 (after line 20), after Part 3, insert:

Part 3A—Enrolment matters

12A Updating or transferring a person's enrolment without claim or notice from the person

(1) This section applies if, on or before 10 October 2017, the Electoral Commissioner is satisfied that section 103A of the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918 applies to a person.

(2) Section 103A of the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918 applies for the purposes of this Part, subject to subsection (3), as if:

(a) the word "may" in subsections 103A(2), (3) and (4) were replaced with the word "must"; and

(b) the words ", by 10 October 2017," were inserted after the words "a notice" in subsection 103A(2); and

(c) the words "28 days" in subsections 103A(3) and (4) were replaced with "7 days".

(3) The obligation on the Electoral Commissioner to update or transfer the enrolment of a person under this section applies to the end of the late enrolment period.

12B Enrolling unenrolled person, or placing a young person's name on the electoral roll, without claim or notice from the person

(1) This section applies if, on or before 10 October 2017, the Electoral Commissioner is satisfied that:

(a) section 103B of the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918 applies to a person; or

(b) for a person who has turned 16, but is under 18—section 103B of the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918 would apply to the person if the person were 18.

(2) Section 103B of the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918 applies for the purposes of this Part, subject to subsection (3), as if:

(a) the words "or is entitled to make a claim for enrolment" were added to the end of paragraph 103B(1) (a); and

(b) the words "or has not made a claim for enrolment" were added at the end of paragraph 103B(1) (c); and

(c) the word "may" in subsections 103B(2), (3) and (4) were replaced with the word "must"; and

(d) the words ", by 10 October 2017," were inserted after the words "a notice" in subsection 103B(2); and

(e) the words "or to make a claim for enrolment" were added to the end of subparagraph 103B(2) (b) (ii) and paragraphs 103B(3) (b) and (4) (b); and

(f) the words "28 days" in paragraph 103B(2) (b) and subsections 103B(3) and (4) were replaced with "7 days".

(3) The obligation on the Electoral Commissioner to enrol a person under this section applies to the end of the late enrolment period.

When we were aware that a safeguard bill would be brought to this parliament several weeks ago, we made it clear that our view would be that we should allow 16- and 17-year-olds to participate. Consistent with that position adopted several weeks ago, we're introducing amendments to lower the age to 16 for people to participate in the marriage law survey. It's consistent with our view, and it has been a long-term view, that 16- and 17-year-olds should be able to vote in general elections. We know that in many other jurisdictions, in countries like Austria and Scotland, for example, 16- and 17-year-olds participate in their democracy, with very good results, a high youth turnout and greater engagement in the public debates on many issues.

We think that 16- and 17-year-olds should be able to participate in this survey. Young people can open a bank account, buy property, can work and pay taxes and, of course, can marry. So, in that context, we have long held the view that 16- and 17-year-olds should be able to participate in a plebiscite, should that receive the support of the Senate, or indeed now the marriage survey. It is consistent with our long-held position of having 16- and 17-year-olds vote in general elections. We know that young people are feeling disfranchised from the democratic process, and we know that much of our politics is dominated by short-term thinking, and here we have an opportunity to engage young people who have a great stake in their future. They have a great stake in many issues that are going to shape the course of their lives.

We know that this is an issue that has a direct impact on many young people in our community, particularly young people who are coming to terms with their sexuality, and we would like to afford them the opportunity to participate in this debate. I understand that the government have already determined their position on this, but we—just to put it on the record—felt that it was important that we express our support for that position through these amendments.