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Wednesday, 7 December 1983
Page: 3364


Senator MACKLIN(10.21) — The Australian Democrats will not be supporting the Opposition's amendments in this regard. If one looks at the actual clause, we are referring only to very formal but very minor types of changes to the ballot papers. I think the foreshadowed amendments that I put forward simply cover the matter without any further complications. However, since we circulated our amendments, the Government has circulated amendments in relation to this issue. We are happy to accept the Government's amendments. They essentially have the same effect as the amendments which I originally proposed. I think there is no undue delegation with the insertion of the words that the Government intends adding. The Chief Australian Electoral Officer is very tightly circumscribed in what he is able to do and, indeed, he would be able to change it only in a very limited and very formal way. I do not believe it is necessary to go to the point of actually having regulations on this issue which may, in themselves, be very complicated due to the fact that when one wants to change something simply from 'Territory' to 'State' it seems that the draftsmen get overly excited and cover pages and pages.

I think we have not had any case and neither would I believe there would be any case that the Chief Australian Electoral Officer would seek, in any way to exceed any powers granted to him under this provision, providing it is circumscribed in the way that either the Democrats' amendments or the Government 's amendments suggest. I think that would be sufficient to pick up the problem raised by the Senate Standing Committee for the Scrutiny of Bills.