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Thursday, 8 December 1983
Page: 3519


Senator GARETH EVANS (Attorney-General)(3.17) —I move:

(10) Page 13, after clause 29 insert the following new clause:

Operation of Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918, &c., in relation to a referendum

30. (1) The succeeding provisions of this section shall have effect after the commencement of the Commonwealth Electoral Legislation Amendment Act 1983 (in this section referred to as the 'Amending Act').

(2) For the purposes of a referendum-

(a) the amendments made by the Amending Act to the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918, other than the amendments made by sections 3, 4, 5, 7, 8 and 150 of the Amending Act, shall be deemed not to have been made; and

(b) the Referendum (Constitution Alteration) Act 1906, the regulations referred to in sub-section (3) and the regulations that were, immediately before the commencement of the Amending Act, in force under the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918 and the Referendum (Constitution Alteration) Act 1906, shall have effect accordingly.

(3) Notwithstanding the repeals effected by section 151 of the Amendment Act-

(a) the Australian Capital Territory Representation Regulations that were, immediately before the commencement of the Amending Act, in force under the Australian Capital Territory Representation (House of Representatives) Act 1973; and

(b) the Northern Territory Electoral Regulations that were, immediately before the commencement of the Amending Act, in force under the Northern Territory Representation Act 1922 and the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918,

shall continue in force for the purposes of a referendum.

(4) For the purposes of the application, in relation to a referendum, of any law of the Commonwealth or of a Territory, or any order or instrument under any such law, in relation to anything done or to be done after the commencement of the Amending Act-

(a) a reference to the Australian Electoral Office shall be read as a reference to the Australian Electoral Commission established under the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918 as amended by the Amending Act;

(b) a reference to the Chief Australian Electoral Officer or to the Chief Electoral Officer for the Commonwealth shall be read as a reference to the Electoral Commissioner appointed under that Act as so amended;

(c) a reference to a Commonwealth Electoral Officer for a State or to an Australian Electoral Officer for a State shall be read as a reference to the Australian Electoral Officer for the State appointed under that Act as so amended;

(d) a reference to a Returning Office, in relation to a Division of the Australian Capital Territory or in relation to the Northern Territory, shall be read as a reference to the Divisional Returning Officer for that Division or that Territory, as the case may be; and

(e) a reference to a Registrar, in relation to a Subdivision, shall be read as a reference to the Divisional Returning Officer for the Division of which that Subdivision is part or, if an Assistant Divisional Returning Officer has been appointed for that Subdivision, to that Assistant Divisional Returning Officer.

The purpose of this amendment is simply to accommodate some technical problems that flow from the fact that we now have in force, as a result of the successful passage of the electoral legislation, amendments to the Commonwealth Electoral Act. However, it is not proposed that every single aspect of that new legislative arrangement be applicable to the February referendum. For example, the Electoral Commission will not have been established by that point in time and we need to pick and choose our way through those provisions in the new electoral law as it stands which are applicable to the conduct of the referendum , and those which are not. Proposed new clause 30 is designed to achieve that result. It is a purely technical amendment and I hope that it can be supported accordingly.

Proposed new clause agreed to.

Remainder of Bill-by leave-taken as a whole, and agreed to.

Bill reported with amendments; report adopted.