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Thursday, 1 December 1983
Page: 3168

Senator GARETH EVANS (Attorney-General)(7.03) —To answer Senator Sir John Carrick's question, the absence of agreement as between the parties as to the order in which they appear and in the absence of prescription in the terms of the statute, the appropriate technique would be to draw the order by ballot. I am sure that is how the courts would regard the matter as being best addressed , should anyone be minded to challenge some sequence established otherwise by the Australian Electoral Office.

Senator Missen —Would that include also the order of the two preferences that the party used?

Senator GARETH EVANS —I imagine it would be up to the party with a two-sequence ticket to determine the order in which it wanted those two successive sequences to be put. No doubt it would want half the posters printed one way and half printed the other way, but we will cross that bridge when we come to it.

As to Senator Harradine's question as to why we have only two-group voting tickets rather than three, four of five, I suppose the simple fact is that we are adjusting this legislation to the realities of the world we inhabit, and so far within that world there seems to have been pressure to have only a two-group voting ticket. Should the real world throw up someone who wants more than that-I do not imagine it would be Senator Harradine because he would regard his electors as being far too intelligent to require this sort of open-ended direction from him-it could be considered at some later stage. But what we are trying to do is simply accommodate the demands of those parties existing in the system at the moment which have a view that their supporters and the peculiar idiosyncracies of their supporters ought to be accommodated in a particular way. I do not think one can honestly claim that there is any high principle behind the establishment of a two-group ticket system rather than some multiple ticket system, but it is just a reflection of the realities that presently prevail.