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Representation Amendment (6 Regions Per State, 2 Senators Per Region) Bill 2020

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2019-2020

 

 

 

THE PARLIAMENT OF THE COMMONWEALTH OF AUSTRALIA

 

 

 

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Representation Amendment (6 Regions Per State, 2 Senators Per Region) Bill 2020

 

 

 

EXPLANATORY MEMORANDUM

and

STATEMENT OF COMPATIBILITY WITH HUMAN RIGHTS

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Circulated by authority of

The Hon Barnaby Joyce MP

Member for New England



Representation Amendment (6 Regions Per State, 2 Senators Per Region) Bill 2020

 

 

 

OUTLINE

 

The policy intent of the Bill is to provide greater representation of the geographical diversity of Australia, with each State divided into six regions, with two Senators per region. This will replace the State being one electorate for the Senate vote, to a State having 6 electoral regions for the Senate vote. Three out of the six regions will be voted for every half Senate election, as opposed to half of the twelve Senators from the State as one electorate.

 

FINANCIAL IMPACT

 

The bill will have no financial impact.

 

 

NOTES ON CLAUSES

 

Clause 1: Short Title

1. This clause provides for the Act to be cited as the Representation Amendment (6 Regions Per State, 2 Senators Per Region) Act 2020

 

Clause 2: Commencement

2. This clause provides that sections 1 to 3 commence the day after this Act receives Royal Assent by the Governor General.

 

Clause 3: Schedules

3. This clause provides that legislation the Act is amending, or repealing is set out in the Schedules.

 

Schedule 1:

 

Item 1: Commonwealth Electoral Act 1983

Amending Section 39 of the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1983 is a consequential amendment relating to Item 2.

 

Item 2: Representation Act 1983

Amending Sections 3,4,5 and 6 of the Representation Act 1983 to remove existing requirements for representation in the Senate. The Amendment will allow the Minister to determine six divisions for each State and two Senators per division. There are provisions to determine the maximum and minimum size of a division. It is important to note that the geographical area of the capital city of the State will be wholly contained in one region.

 

 

Item 3: Transitional provision

The amendments made in Item 3 will apply after the election of Senators for each State. The item explains the transitional process that will take place once the Bill is passed. If the first election will be a half-Senate election, three divisions (regions) for each State will become vacant for election and will be determined by lot by the President of the Senate.  

 

 

 

STATEMENT OF COMPATIBILITY WITH HUMAN RIGHTS

 

 

Prepared in accordance with Part 3 of the Human Rights (Parliamentary Scrutiny) Act 2011

 

 

Representation Amendment (6 Regions Per State, 2 Senators Per Region) Bill 2020

 

 

This bill is compatible with the human rights and freedoms recognised or declared in the international instruments listed in section 3 of the Human Rights (Parliamentary Scrutiny) Act 2011 .

 

Overview of the bill

 

Our current Senate representation is disproportionate and doesn’t allow an effective voice for across our vase land mass. Changes need to be made to the current system to provide greater representation for regional, rural and remote areas.  There is a high imbalance of Senators located in capital cities where the overwhelming number of lower house Members are as well. In many instances 11 out of the 12 Senators come from capital cities.

 

Under this amendment States will be broken into 6 electoral regions, with no region being larger then 30% of the geographical area of the State, and no urban capital city basin being more than one region. These r egional areas will contribute two Senators at an election every six years and at a double dissolution. Three out of the six regions will be voted for every three years, and the second three regions will be up for election after the following three years. The election will be at the appropriate time approximate to the expiry of the Senators six year term and a Federal election.

 

With a need to see a greater Indigenous voice in parliament, each region will take into account First Nation areas and boundaries. In certain regions there will be a greater opportunity to elect indigenous Senators because of the region having a high proportion of Indigenous voters.  

 

Human rights implications

 

This Bill does not engage any of the applicable rights or freedoms.  

 

 

Conclusion

 

This Bill is compatible with human rights because it increases representation of the Australian people, particularly those in regional, rural and remote areas to the Parliament of Australia.

 

 

The Hon Barnaby Joyce MP