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Tuesday, 15 February 2022
Page: 796


Mr TIM WILSON (GoldsteinAssistant Minister to the Minister for Industry, Energy and Emissions Reduction) (18:55): I present the explanatory memorandum to this bill and move:

That this bill be now read a second time.

Today I introduce the Electoral Legislation Amendment (Authorisations) Bill 2022.

This bill makes minor and technical amendments to the notifying requirements in the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918 (Electoral Act) for the authorisation of electoral communications.

These amendments will make the information provided in authorisations more useful to voters by requiring registered political parties and disclosure entities to use their current registered name in authorisations for electoral communications.

Currently, parties are required to use their name as included on their most recent return lodged with the Australian Electoral Commission under Part XX of the Electoral Act. This amendment will reduce the potential for voter confusion by ensuring that the name a registered political party is required to use in the notifying particulars for electoral communications is the same as the party's name as it appears on the ballot paper.

Similarly, the amendments will require disclosure entities that are not registered political parties to use their name as most recently entered on the Transparency Register rather than their most recent return under Part XX of the Electoral Act.

The bill also provides some limited flexibility for registered political parties in how they present their names in authorisations. This streamlines these requirements, and avoids unnecessary duplication, without detracting from clear communication with voters.

For example, political parties who have the word 'incorporated' in their registered name would be able to omit this word.

Similarly, the bill enables registered political parties which are a branch or division of a federal party to omit the words which specifically refer to the branch or division. This avoids unnecessary duplication, noting that authorisations already require entities to specify their location as part of their notifying particulars.

The bill also amends the authorisation requirements for referendum communications and political communications in the Referendum (Machinery Provisions) Act 1984, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation Act 1983, the Broadcasting Services Act 1992 and the Special Broadcasting Service Act 1991for consistency and alignment with the Electoral Act.

Conclusion

This bill demonstrates the government's commitment to reduce voter confusion and unnecessary red tape and regulation. These amendments aim to make authorisation requirements clearer and more consistent across the relevant acts.

I commend this bill.

Debate adjourned.