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Thursday, 10 November 1983
Page: 2608

Mr BEAZLEY (Special Minister of State)(4.47) —by leave-I move:

(11) Clause 42, page 66, at the end of proposed section 58 add the following sub-sections:

'' '(7) Where an Australian Electoral Officer causes a copy of a decision made under sub-section (5) to be given to a person under sub-section (6), the copy shall be accompanied by a written statement to the effect that a person whose interests are affected by the decision may, subject to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal Act 1975, if he is dissatisfied with the decision, make an application to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal for review of the decision.

'' '(8) Any failure to comply with the requirement of sub-section (7) in relation to a decision does not affect the validity of the decision.'.''.

(12) Clause 42, page 66, lines 33 to 41 and page 67, lines 1 to 34, omit proposed section 58AA, substitute the following section:

Review by Administrative Appeals Tribunal '' '58AA. (1) Application may be made to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal for review of a decision made by an Australian Electoral Officer under sub-section 58 (5).

'' '(2) In this section, 'decision' has the same meaning as it has in the Administrative Appeals Tribunal Act 1975.'.''.

(13) Clause 42, page 70, line 22, omit 'comprises or contains the word ' Independent' or 'independent', substitute 'comprises the words 'Independent Party' or comprises or contains the word 'Independent' ''.

In amendments (11) to (13) there are two points that one might describe as administrative. The third point has a policy element as well as being administrative. The first two amendments relate to the question of the role of the Administrative Appeals Tribunal. It does not change the character of the Commonwealth Electoral Legislation Amendment Bill in any shape or form and does not really need any explanation on my part. The third amendment requires a degree of explanation. It changes what was in our original proposition which was 'Independent' and 'independent'. We have amended that to read 'comprises the words' ''Independent Party''. This follows some way down the line of a suggestion made by the Joint Select Committee on Electoral Reform and needs to be read in conjunction with the rest of the clause, the objective of which is to ensure that nobody, in a bogus fashion, attempts to associate himself or herself with the major political parties and thereby creates a degree of confusion in the electorate.

It needs to be remembered when this Bill is considered that other clauses in the Bill provide for the names of parties to appear on the ballot paper. While that is a very highly desirable amendment and one that I notice is supported by honourable members on the other side nevertheless the residual possibilities for a degree of mischief-making lie there. That matter is directly addressed in other parts of the Bill. There is also required an individual addressing of it in this area to ensure that people cannot go around the electorate touting themselves as Liberal or Labor candidates when they are not, by simply inserting the word 'Independent' in front of the party name. The Joint Committee saw that situation as important.

While achieving that objective the legislation goes slightly further than that and addresses the question of the creation of the term 'Independent Party'. Whilst in some ways it might seem odd to take objection to this, we have to remember that in other sections of the Bill references are made to people who can describe themselves, if they wish to, as Independents. There was some concern by the Government, when we got down to looking at this matter seriously, that we might create a situation in which a person, by defining himself as an Independent Party, could create a difficulty because someone else described himself on the ballot paper as an Independent. We considered this undesirable, and for that reason we have come up with this additional amendment.