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Tuesday, 16 October 1984
Page: 1728

Senator HARRADINE(12.08) — I wish to add to what Senator Lewis has just said. In particular, I refer to the Senate ballot paper. As honourable senators would know, the decision of the Senate last year, which I opposed, was to have a completely new Senate ballot paper on the top of what would be a series of boxes under which there would be the names of parties or groups, but only those parties or groups that are able to register with the Australian Electoral Commission. The second part of the ballot paper would be similar to the ballot paper that existed in previous elections. Many electors this time will be startled by the fact that they will be handed a completely different type of ballot paper. They can go into the polling booth and place a number 1 in the box at the top of the ballot paper and that will satisfy their obligations under the Commonwealth Electoral Act. I believe that that system is unfortunate. It has required me, for example, to register my name as a group for the purpose of obtaining a box on the top of the ballot paper. I was virtually forced to do this because of the provisions of the new ballot paper. Since we are dealing with legislation relating to electoral advertising, I would like to know whether and when advertising will take place from the Australian Electoral Commission about the new ballot paper. If electors are not informed by the Electoral Office then a burden falls on other people to inform them. It would be far better if the Commonwealth Electoral Commission were to do the advertising, but in such a way as it will not be of a partisan character and will not offend legitimate candidates.

The CHAIRMAN (Senator Hamer) —I let you complete your remarks, Senator Harradine , and I could see their relevance, but they are more relevant to the principal Act than to this amending Bill, which is of very limited scope. We are dealing with clauses 6, 7 and 8. I would not like to see a development of that line of debate at this stage-although the Attorney-General, of course, may reply if he wishes.