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Government introduces legislation to improve the intergrity and accuracy of the electoral roll.



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MEDIA RELEASE

 

SENATOR NICK MINCHIN

Special Minister of State

 

14May98

 

 

Government introduces legislation to improve the integrity and

accuracy of the electoral roll

 

Special Minister of State Senator Nick Minchin introduced legislation to improve the integrity and accuracy of the Commonwealth electoral roll into the Senate today.

 

Recommendations made by the Joint Standing Committee on Electoral Matters (JSCEM) report into the conduct of the 1996 Federal Election have provided the legislative basis for the Electoral and Referendum Amendment Bill (No 2)1998.

 

The amendments include upgrading of the witness provisions for electoral enrolment, a requirement for proof of identity for new enrolments, an earlier close of rolls and verification of citizenship.

 

Other amendments included in the Bill and also based on JSCEM recommendations include prohibiting prisoners from enrolling to vote or voting whilst serving their sentence and changes to disclosure provisions for political donations primarily intended to improve the administration of the process.

 

The Government agrees with the JSCEM’s assessment that “it is unacceptable that the most fundamental transaction between a citizen and the Government — the act of choosing the Government at a democratic election — is subject to a far lower level of security than such lesser transactions as opening a bank account, applying for a passport, applying for a drivers’ license, or registering for social security benefits, to name a few

 

“Electoral fraud can encompass multiple voting (in the names of existing electors, or in false names deliberately placed on the roll for the purpose), being enrolled for the wrong electorate, or being wrongly enrolled by virtue of being a foreign citizen or underage. Obviously some of these circumstances can also arise through misunderstanding on the part of electors, rather than deliberate attempts at fraud”.

 

Further, the Government believes amendments are necessary following 13 years of ALP Government in which nothing was done to ensure the integrity of the electoral roll and minimise the opportunities for fraudulent enrolment.

 

The Government’s proposed amendments will significantly improve the integrity of our electoral system.

For further information contact Kate Schulze  (02) 6277 7600