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Primary content

Act No. 22 of 2007 as made
An Act to amend the law relating to elections and referendums, and for related purposes
Administered by: Finance
Originating Bill: Electoral and Referendum Legislation Amendment Bill 2006
Registered 21 Mar 2007
Date of Assent 15 Mar 2007
Table of contents.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Electoral and Referendum Legislation Amendment Act 2007

 

No. 22, 2007

 

 

 

 

 

An Act to amend the law relating to elections and referendums, and for related purposes

  

  


Contents

1............ Short title............................................................................................. 1

2............ Commencement................................................................................... 2

3............ Schedule(s)......................................................................................... 2

Schedule 1—Postal voting                                                                                                 3

Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918                                                                         3

Referendum (Machinery Provisions) Act 1984                                                    11

Schedule 2—Trials of electronic voting methods                                              17

Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918                                                                       17

Referendum (Machinery Provisions) Act 1984                                                    24

Schedule 3—Other amendments                                                                                 31

Part 1—Proof of identity for people enrolling from outside Australia 31

Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918                                                                       31

Part 2—Pre‑poll voting offices                                                                               33

Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918                                                                       33

Referendum (Machinery Provisions) Act 1984                                                    35

Part 3—Removal of provision relating to defamation of candidates and false statements           37

Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918                                                                       37

 


 

 

Electoral and Referendum Legislation Amendment Act 2007

No. 22, 2007

 

 

 

An Act to amend the law relating to elections and referendums, and for related purposes

[Assented to 15 March 2007]

The Parliament of Australia enacts:

1  Short title

                   This Act may be cited as the Electoral and Referendum Legislation Amendment Act 2007.

2  Commencement

             (1)  Each provision of this Act specified in column 1 of the table commences, or is taken to have commenced, in accordance with column 2 of the table. Any other statement in column 2 has effect according to its terms.

 

Commencement information

Column 1

Column 2

Column 3

Provision(s)

Commencement

Date/Details

1.  Sections 1 to 3 and anything in this Act not elsewhere covered by this table

The day on which this Act receives the Royal Assent.

15 March 2007

2.  Schedules 1 and 2

The day on which this Act receives the Royal Assent.

15 March 2007

3.  Schedule 3, Part 1

A single day to be fixed by Proclamation.

However, if any of the provision(s) do not commence within the period of 6 months beginning on the day on which this Act receives the Royal Assent, they commence on the first day after the end of that period.

16 April 2007 (see F2007L01001)

4.  Schedule 3, Parts 2 and 3

The day on which this Act receives the Royal Assent.

15 March 2007

Note:          This table relates only to the provisions of this Act as originally passed by both Houses of the Parliament and assented to. It will not be expanded to deal with provisions inserted in this Act after assent.

             (2)  Column 3 of the table contains additional information that is not part of this Act. Information in this column may be added to or edited in any published version of this Act.

3  Schedule(s)

                   Each Act that is specified in a Schedule to this Act is amended or repealed as set out in the applicable items in the Schedule concerned, and any other item in a Schedule to this Act has effect according to its terms.


 

Schedule 1Postal voting

  

Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918

1  Subsection 4(1)

Insert:

AFP officer or staff member means:

                     (a)  a member or special member of the Australian Federal Police, within the meaning of the Australian Federal Police Act 1979; or

                     (b)  a special protective service officer, within the meaning of that Act; or

                     (c)  an AFP employee, within the meaning of that Act; or

                     (d)  a person assisting the Australian Federal Police in the performance of its functions under an agreement under section 69D of that Act.

2  Subsection 4(1)

Insert:

capital city office of the Electoral Commission has the meaning given by subsection 90A(3).

3  Subsection 4(1)

Insert:

defence civilian has the same meaning as in the Defence Force Discipline Act 1982.

4  Subsection 4(1)

Insert:

defence member has the same meaning as in the Defence Force Discipline Act 1982.

5  After subsection 90B(8)

Insert:

Certain information about defence and AFP personnel not to be disclosed

          (8A)  Nothing in this section (or in an arrangement under section 84) allows or requires the Electoral Commission to give a person or organisation information that the Electoral Commission is aware would or might enable any of the following to be ascertained:

                     (a)  the fact that a particular person has been, is or will be serving outside Australia as:

                              (i)  a defence member or a defence civilian; or

                             (ii)  an AFP officer or staff member;

                     (b)  the place where a particular person has been, is or will be serving outside Australia in a capacity referred to in subparagraph (a)(i) or (ii);

                     (c)  the period of time when a particular person has been, is or will be serving outside Australia in a capacity referred to in subparagraph (a)(i) or (ii);

                     (d)  without limiting any of the preceding paragraphs—the postal address of a person who is serving outside Australia in a capacity referred to in subparagraph (a)(i) or (ii);

                     (e)  any other information of a kind specified in the regulations, being information that relates to persons who have been, are or will be serving outside Australia in a capacity referred to in subparagraph (a)(i) or (ii).

6  Subsection 184(5)

Repeal the subsection, substitute:

             (5)  An application for a postal vote fails to meet the deadline if it is not received by the DRO or Assistant Returning Officer to whom it is directed until after 6 pm on the Thursday that is 2 days before polling day in the election.

             (6)  If an application for a postal vote fails to meet the deadline, the DRO or Assistant Returning Officer to whom the application was directed must make, or arrange for the making of, reasonable efforts to advise the applicant that his or her application for a postal vote failed to meet the deadline, and that the applicant will have to vote by other means.

7  At the end of subsection 184A(2)

Add:

                    ; (i)  the applicant is a defence member, or defence civilian, who is serving outside Australia;

                      (j)  the applicant is an AFP officer or staff member who is serving outside Australia;

                     (k)  the applicant is an eligible overseas elector.

8  At the end of section 184A

Add:

             (5)  An elector may apply on the ground referred to in paragraph (2)(i) or (j) before he or she has left Australia.

             (6)  The regulations may specify whether a particular situation does, or does not, constitute serving outside Australia for the purposes of paragraph (2)(i) or (j). The regulations have effect accordingly.

9  Subsection 185(1)

Omit “If”, substitute “Subject to subsection (1A), if”.

10  After subsection 185(1)

Insert:

          (1A)  If, as permitted by subsection 184A(5), an elector applies to be registered as a general postal voter on the ground referred to in paragraph 184A(2)(i) or (j) before he or she has left Australia, the DRO to whom the application is made must not register the applicant as a general postal voter until the DRO believes, on reasonable grounds, that the elector has left Australia.

          (1B)  For the purposes of subsection (1A), in considering whether he or she believes, on reasonable grounds, that an elector has left Australia, the DRO:

                     (a)  may have regard to information included in the elector’s application relating to his or her likely date of departure; and

                     (b)  is not required to obtain, or have regard to, other information, but may obtain, and have regard to, other information if the DRO considers it appropriate to do so.

11  After subsection 185(4)

Insert:

          (4A)  Nothing in paragraphs (4)(b) and (c) allows or requires a DRO to include in the Register information that the DRO is aware would or might enable any of the following to be ascertained:

                     (a)  the fact that a particular person has been, is or will be serving outside Australia as:

                              (i)  a defence member or a defence civilian; or

                             (ii)  an AFP officer or staff member;

                     (b)  the place where a particular person has been, is or will be serving outside Australia in a capacity referred to in subparagraph (a)(i) or (ii);

                     (c)  the period of time when a particular person has been, is or will be serving outside Australia in a capacity referred to in subparagraph (a)(i) or (ii);

                     (d)  without limiting any of the preceding paragraphs—the postal address of a person who is serving outside Australia in a capacity referred to in subparagraph (a)(i) or (ii);

                     (e)  any other information of a kind specified in the regulations, being information that relates to persons who have been, are or will be serving outside Australia in a capacity referred to in subparagraph (a)(i) or (ii).

12  Subsection 188(1)

Omit “shall post or arrange to be delivered to the applicant”, substitute “must (unless the application fails to meet the deadline as mentioned in subsection 184(5)) send, or arrange for the sending, to the applicant in accordance with whichever of subsections (2), (3) and (4) of this section applies”.

13  Subsection 188(2)

Repeal the subsection, substitute:

             (2)  Subject to subsection (3), if the DRO or Assistant Returning Officer receives the application for a postal vote at or before 6 pm on the Friday that is 8 days before polling day in the election, the material required by subsection (1) must be sent to the applicant by post or by another means (not being an electronic means, such as fax or email).

             (3)  If:

                     (a)  the DRO or Assistant Returning Officer receives the application for a postal vote at or before 6 pm on the Friday that is 8 days before polling day in the election; and

                     (b)  in accordance with the approved form referred to in subsection 184(1), the applicant has requested a particular means of delivery (not being an electronic means such as fax or email); and

                     (c)  the DRO or Assistant Returning Officer considers that that means is reasonable and practicable in the circumstances;

the material required by subsection (1) must be sent to the applicant by that means.

             (4)  If the DRO or Assistant Returning Officer receives the application for a postal vote after 6 pm on the Friday that is 8 days before polling day in the election and at or before 6 pm on the Thursday that is 2 days before polling day in the election, the material required by subsection (1) must be sent to the applicant by the means (not being an electronic means such as fax or email) that the DRO or Assistant Returning Officer considers is the most reasonable and practicable in the circumstances.

Note:          If the application is received after 6 pm on the Thursday that is 2 days before polling day in the election, it fails to meet the deadline (see subsection 184(5)), and therefore no material is required by subsection (1) to be sent to the applicant.

14  At the end of paragraph 194(2)(c)

Add “or”.

15  Paragraph 194(2)(e)

Omit “any presiding officer”, substitute “a presiding officer (other than an electoral visitor or mobile polling team leader who is deemed to be a presiding officer)”.

16  At the end of subsection 194(2)

Add:

               ; or (f)  be handed to an electoral visitor when the electoral visitor:

                              (i)  is visiting a special hospital for the purpose of taking votes under section 225; or

                             (ii)  is visiting a prison for the purpose of taking votes under section 226A; or

                     (g)  be handed to a mobile polling team leader when the team is at a station for the purpose of taking votes under section 227; or

                     (h)  be handed, before the close of the poll, to a person who is at a capital city office of the Electoral Commission and who is:

                              (i)  the holder of a particular office provided for by Division 3 or 4 of Part II; or

                             (ii)  a member of the staff of the Electoral Commission (not being the holder of a particular office referred to in subparagraph (i)) who is engaged under the Public Service Act 1999 as an ongoing APS employee within the meaning of that Act, or who is employed under paragraph 35(1)(b) of this Act.

17  Subsection 194(3)

Omit “A DRO, Assistant Returning Officer, presiding officer or pre‑poll voting officer”, substitute “A person”.

18  Subsection 194(3)

Omit “or delivered”, substitute “, delivered or handed”.

19  Subsection 195A(1)

Repeal the subsection, substitute:

             (1)  In this section:

officer means:

                     (a)  a pre‑poll voting officer; or

                     (b)  a presiding officer; or

                     (c)  the holder of a particular office (other than a DRO) provided for by Division 3 or 4 of Part II; or

                     (d)  an electoral visitor; or

                     (e)  a mobile polling team leader; or

                      (f)  a member of the staff of the Electoral Commission referred to in subparagraph 194(2)(h)(ii).

presiding officer does not include an electoral visitor or mobile polling team leader who is deemed to be a presiding officer.

20  Paragraph 195A(2)(d)

Repeal the paragraph, substitute:

                     (d)  sign the endorsement, adding the appropriate designation (see subsection (3));

21  Paragraphs 195A(2)(f) and (g)

Repeal the paragraphs, substitute:

                      (f)  deal with the envelope in accordance with whichever of subsections (4), (5) and (6) applies.

22  At the end of section 195A

Add:

             (3)  For the purposes of paragraph (2)(d), the appropriate designation is as set out in the following table.

 

Item

If the person signing the endorsement is ...

the appropriate designation is ...

1

a DRO

the words “Divisional Returning Officer”.

2

a pre‑poll voting officer

the words “Pre‑poll Voting Officer”.

3

a presiding officer

the words “Presiding Officer”.

4

an electoral visitor

the words “Electoral Visitor”.

5

a mobile polling team leader

the words “Mobile Polling Team Leader”.

6

the holder of any other office provided for by Division 3 or 4 of Part II

the title of the office.

7

a member of the staff of the Electoral Commission referred to in subparagraph 194(2)(h)(ii)

the words “Member of the Staff of the Electoral Commission”.

             (4)  If an envelope purporting to bear a postal vote is received as mentioned in subsection (2) by a DRO, or by an officer who is:

                     (a)  a pre‑poll voting officer; or

                     (b)  a presiding officer; or

                     (c)  an Assistant Returning Officer who is outside Australia;

the DRO or officer must (after complying with the other requirements of subsection (2)):

                     (d)  place the envelope in a ballot‑box; and

                     (e)  keep the envelope in the ballot‑box until the envelope is dealt with in accordance with section 228.

             (5)  If an envelope purporting to bear a postal vote is received as mentioned in subsection (2) by an officer who is an electoral visitor or a mobile polling team leader, the officer must (after complying with the other requirements of subsection (2)):

                     (a)  place the envelope in a ballot‑box; and

                     (b)  keep the envelope in the ballot‑box until the ballot‑box is forwarded to the designated Assistant Returning Officer as required by whichever of subsections 225(8), 226A(7) and 227(10) is applicable; and

                     (c)  when so forwarding the ballot‑box to the designated Assistant Returning Officer, also forward to that Assistant Returning Officer the record made by the electoral visitor or mobile polling team leader under paragraph (2)(e).

             (6)  If an envelope purporting to bear a postal vote is received as mentioned in subsection (2) by an officer (other than an officer referred to in subsection (4) or (5)) who is at a capital city office of the Electoral Commission:

                     (a)  the officer must (after complying with subsection (2)) place the envelope in a ballot‑box made available for the purpose by the DRO for the Division in which the capital city office is located; and

                     (b)  the ballot‑box containing the envelope must be forwarded to the DRO, or made available to be collected by the DRO, in accordance with instructions of the DRO; and

                     (c)  until the ballot‑box is so forwarded or collected, the envelope must be kept in the ballot‑box; and

                     (d)  the record made by the officer under paragraph (2)(e) must be forwarded to the DRO, or made available to be collected by the DRO, in accordance with instructions of the DRO.

             (7)  Instructions referred to in paragraphs (6)(b) and (d) are not legislative instruments.

23  Paragraph 228(2)(a)

Omit “presiding officer’s record made under subsection 232(2) or in any other records forwarded by the presiding officer”, substitute “relevant records forwarded to the Assistant Returning Officer under this Act”.

24  After subsection 228(3)

Insert:

          (3A)  Each DRO to whom ballot‑boxes are forwarded, or by whom ballot‑boxes are collected, as mentioned in paragraph 195A(6)(b):

                     (a)  must compare the records forwarded to or collected by the DRO as mentioned in paragraph 195A(6)(d) with the envelopes in the ballot‑boxes and note any discrepancy; and

                     (b)  except as necessary for the purposes of paragraph (a), keep the envelopes in one or more securely fastened ballot‑boxes until the envelopes are dealt with under other provisions of this Act.

Referendum (Machinery Provisions) Act 1984

25  Subsection 3(1)

Insert:

capital city office of the Electoral Commission has the meaning given by subsection 90A(3) of the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918.

26  Paragraph 46A(2)(a)

Omit “presiding officer’s record made under subsection 34(2) or in any other records forwarded by the presiding officer”, substitute “relevant records forwarded to the Assistant Returning Officer under this Act”.

27  After subsection 46A(3)

Insert:

          (3A)  Each DRO to whom ballot‑boxes are forwarded, or by whom ballot‑boxes are collected, as mentioned in paragraph 67(6)(b):

                     (a)  must compare the records forwarded to or collected by the DRO as mentioned in paragraph 67(6)(d) with the envelopes in the ballot‑boxes and note any discrepancy; and

                     (b)  except as necessary for the purposes of paragraph (a), keep the envelopes in one or more securely‑fastened ballot‑boxes until the envelopes are dealt with under other provisions of this Act.

28  Subsection 55(5)

Repeal the subsection, substitute:

             (5)  An application for a postal vote fails to meet the deadline if it is not received by the DRO or Assistant Returning Officer to whom it is directed until after 6 pm on the Thursday that is 2 days before voting day in the referendum.

             (6)  If an application for a postal vote fails to meet the deadline, the DRO or Assistant Returning Officer to whom the application was directed must make, or arrange for the making of, reasonable efforts to advise the applicant that his or her application for a postal vote failed to meet the deadline, and that the applicant will have to vote by other means.

29  Subsection 61(1)

Omit “shall post or arrange to be delivered to the applicant”, substitute “must (unless the application fails to meet the deadline as mentioned in subsection 55(5)) send, or arrange for the sending, to the applicant in accordance with whichever of subsections (2), (2A) and (2B) of this section applies”.

30  Subsection 61(2)

Repeal the subsection, substitute:

             (2)  Subject to subsection (2A), if the DRO or Assistant Returning Officer receives the application for a postal vote at or before 6 pm on the Friday that is 8 days before voting day in the referendum, the material required by subsection (1) must be sent to the applicant by post or by another means (not being an electronic means, such as fax or email).

          (2A)  If:

                     (a)  the DRO or Assistant Returning Officer receives the application for a postal vote at or before 6 pm on the Friday that is 8 days before voting day in the referendum; and

                     (b)  in accordance with the approved form referred to in subsection 55(1), the applicant has requested a particular means of delivery (not being an electronic means such as fax or email); and

                     (c)  the DRO or Assistant Returning Officer considers that that means is reasonable and practicable in the circumstances;

the material required by subsection (1) must be sent to the applicant by that means.

          (2B)  If the DRO or Assistant Returning Officer receives the application for a postal vote after 6 pm on the Friday that is 8 days before voting day in the referendum and at or before 6 pm on the Thursday that is 2 days before voting day in the referendum, the material required by subsection (1) must be sent to the applicant by the means (not being an electronic means such as fax or email) that the DRO or Assistant Returning Officer considers is the most reasonable and practicable in the circumstances.

Note:          If the application is received after 6 pm on the Thursday that is 2 days before voting day in the referendum, it fails to meet the deadline (see subsection 55(5)), and therefore no material is required by subsection (1) to be sent to the applicant.

31  At the end of paragraph 65(2)(c)

Add “or”.

32  Paragraph 65(2)(e)

Omit “any presiding officer”, substitute “a presiding officer (other than an electoral visitor or mobile polling team leader who is deemed to be a presiding officer)”.

33  At the end of subsection 65(2)

Add:

               ; or (f)  be handed to an electoral visitor when the electoral visitor:

                              (i)  is visiting a special hospital for the purpose of taking votes under section 49; or

                             (ii)  is visiting a prison for the purpose of taking votes under section 49A; or

                     (g)  be handed to a mobile polling team leader when the team is at a station for the purpose of taking votes under section 51; or

                     (h)  be handed, before the close of the poll, to a person who is at a capital city office of the Electoral Commission and who is:

                              (i)  the holder of a particular office provided for by Division 3 or 4 of Part II of the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918 or by section 5 or 6 of this Act; or

                             (ii)  a member of the staff of the Electoral Commission (not being the holder of a particular office referred to in subparagraph (i)) who is engaged under the Public Service Act 1999 as an ongoing APS employee within the meaning of that Act, or who is employed under paragraph 35(1)(b) of the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918.

34  Subsection 65(3)

Omit “A DRO, Assistant Returning Officer, presiding officer or pre‑poll voting officer”, substitute “A person”.

35  Subsection 65(3)

Omit “or delivered”, substitute “, delivered or handed”.

36  Subsection 67(1)

Repeal the subsection, substitute:

             (1)  In this section:

officer means:

                     (a)  a pre‑poll voting officer; or

                     (b)  a presiding officer; or

                     (c)  the holder of a particular office (other than a DRO) provided for by Division 3 or 4 of Part II of the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918 or by section 5 or 6 of this Act; or

                     (d)  an electoral visitor; or

                     (e)  a mobile polling team leader; or

                      (f)  a member of the staff of the Electoral Commission referred to in subparagraph 65(2)(h)(ii).

presiding officer does not include an electoral visitor or mobile polling team leader who is deemed to be a presiding officer.

37  Paragraph 67(2)(d)

Repeal the paragraph, substitute:

                     (d)  sign the endorsement, adding the appropriate designation (see subsection (3));

38  Paragraphs 67(2)(f) and (g)

Repeal the paragraphs, substitute:

                      (f)  deal with the envelope in accordance with whichever of subsections (4), (5) and (6) applies.

39  At the end of section 67

Add:

             (3)  For the purposes of paragraph (2)(d), the appropriate designation is as set out in the following table.

 

Item

If the person signing the endorsement is ...

the appropriate designation is ...

1

a DRO

the words “Divisional Returning Officer”.

2

a pre‑poll voting officer

the words “Pre‑poll Voting Officer”.

3

a presiding officer

the words “Presiding Officer”.

4

an electoral visitor

the words “Electoral Visitor”.

5

a mobile polling team leader

the words “Mobile Polling Team Leader”.

6

the holder of any other office provided for by Division 3 or 4 of Part II of the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918 or by section 5 or 6 of this Act

the title of the office.

7

a member of the staff of the Electoral Commission referred to in subparagraph 65(2)(h)(ii)

the words “Member of the Staff of the Electoral Commission”.

             (4)  If an envelope purporting to bear a postal vote is received as mentioned in subsection (2) by a DRO, or by an officer who is:

                     (a)  a pre‑poll voting officer; or

                     (b)  a presiding officer; or

                     (c)  an Assistant Returning Officer who is outside Australia;

the DRO or officer must (after complying with the other requirements of subsection (2)):

                     (d)  place the envelope in a ballot‑box; and

                     (e)  keep the envelope in the ballot‑box until the envelope is dealt with in accordance with section 46A.

             (5)  If an envelope purporting to bear a postal vote is received as mentioned in subsection (2) by an officer who is an electoral visitor or a mobile polling team leader, the officer must (after complying with the other requirements of subsection (2)):

                     (a)  place the envelope in a ballot‑box; and

                     (b)  keep the envelope in the ballot‑box until the ballot‑box is forwarded to the designated Assistant Returning Officer as required by whichever of subsections 49(8), 49A(7) and 51(10) is applicable; and

                     (c)  when so forwarding the ballot‑box to the designated Assistant Returning Officer, also forward to that Assistant Returning Officer the record made by the electoral visitor or mobile polling team leader under paragraph (2)(e).

             (6)  If an envelope purporting to bear a postal vote is received as mentioned in subsection (2) by an officer (other than an officer referred to in subsection (4) or (5)) who is at a capital city office of the Electoral Commission:

                     (a)  the officer must (after complying with subsection (2)) place the envelope in a ballot‑box made available for the purpose by the DRO for the Division in which the capital city office is located; and

                     (b)  the ballot‑box containing the envelope must be forwarded to the DRO, or made available to be collected by the DRO, in accordance with instructions of the DRO; and

                     (c)  until the ballot‑box is so forwarded or collected, the envelope must be kept in the ballot‑box; and

                     (d)  the record made by the officer under paragraph (2)(e) must be forwarded to the DRO, or made available to be collected by the DRO, in accordance with instructions of the DRO.

             (7)  Instructions referred to in paragraphs (6)(b) and (d) are not legislative instruments.


 

Schedule 2Trials of electronic voting methods

  

Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918

1  After Part XVA

Insert:

Part XVBTrials of electronic voting methods

Division 1Trial of electronically assisted voting for sight‑impaired people

202AA  Definitions

                   In this Division:

sight‑impaired person means a person whose sight is impaired to the extent that he or she is unable to vote without assistance.

vote record has the meaning given by subsection 202AD(1).

202AB  Regulations may provide for voting by an electronically assisted voting method

             (1)  The regulations may provide for sight‑impaired people to vote by an electronically assisted voting method at the first general election, and the first Senate election, held after the commencement of this section.

             (2)  Without limiting the generality of subsection (1), the regulations may:

                     (a)  determine, or provide for the determination of, the following:

                              (i)  the electronically assisted voting method;

                             (ii)  matters related to the voting using the electronically assisted voting method, including the provision of assistance to persons using the method, what has to be done after a person has used the method, and matters of privacy and secrecy;

                            (iii)  the number of places where the electronically assisted voting method is to be available, where those places are, and the days and hours when the method is to be available;

                            (iv)  which persons may use the electronically assisted voting method, including a process of applying to use the method; and

                     (b)  allow the electronically assisted voting method to be used in a particular period before polling day, as well as on polling day; and

                     (c)  provide for other matters related to the integrity of the use of the electronically assisted voting method.

             (3)  The electronically assisted voting method must be such that a person using the method:

                     (a)  for the Senate election referred to in subsection (1):

                              (i)  receives the same information (in the same order), and has the same voting options, as would appear in the ballot‑paper for the Senate election that the person would be given if he or she were instead voting under Part XVI; and

                             (ii)  is able to indicate his or her vote in a way that, if he or she were instead marking a ballot‑paper, would satisfy the requirements of section 239; and

                     (b)  for the general election referred to in subsection (1):

                              (i)  receives the same information (in the same order), and has the same voting options, as would appear in the ballot‑paper for the general election that the person would be given if he or she were instead voting under Part XVI; and

                             (ii)  is able to indicate his or her vote in a way that, if he or she were instead marking a ballot‑paper, would satisfy the requirements of section 240.

             (4)  The regulations may provide for offences in relation to the electronically assisted voting method, and may prescribe penalties for those offences. A prescribed penalty must not exceed 50 penalty units.

             (5)  Nothing in this Division or in regulations made for the purposes of this Division authorises any person to vote more than once at an election.

202AC  There must be a record of who has voted using the electronically assisted voting method

                   The regulations must require the making of a record of each person who has voted using the electronically assisted voting method. The regulations may specify the information that is to be included in the record.

202AD  There must be a printed record of the vote

             (1)  The regulations must provide, in relation to each vote cast by a person using the electronically assisted voting method, for the production of a printed record (a vote record) of the vote the person has cast. The vote record must not contain any means of identifying the person who cast the vote.

             (2)  The regulations must provide for each vote record to be placed, by a DRO or a pre‑poll voting officer, in an envelope that bears a declaration in the approved form. The regulations may specify other requirements relating to the envelope or the declaration.

202AE  How this Act applies in relation to voting using the electronically assisted voting method

             (1)  This Act (other than Part XVA and Schedule 2) applies in relation to a vote cast using the electronically assisted voting method as if the vote were a pre‑poll vote.

Note:          Pre‑poll votes are a kind of declaration vote. This Act will therefore apply to votes cast using the electronically assisted voting method as if they were that kind of declaration vote.

             (2)  For the purposes of this Act as it applies because of subsection (1):

                     (a)  a vote record is to be treated as if it were a pre‑poll vote ballot‑paper; and

                     (b)  the placing of a vote record in an envelope as mentioned in subsection 202AD(2) is to be treated as if it were the placing of a ballot‑paper in an envelope under subsection 200E(6); and

                     (c)  a declaration on an envelope as mentioned in subsection 202AD(2) is to be treated as if it were a pre‑poll vote certificate; and

                     (d)  a record made as mentioned in section 202AC is to be treated as if it were a record made under subsection 200G(2).

             (3)  If a person casts a vote using the electronically assisted voting method, the requirements of this Act relating to the person’s right to receive a ballot‑paper are taken to have been satisfied.

             (4)  The regulations may make additional provisions relating to how this Act applies in relation to votes cast using the electronically assisted voting method.

202AF  Minister may decide that electronically assisted voting trial is not to proceed

             (1)  The Minister may decide in writing that, for any reason that the Minister considers appropriate, the electronically assisted voting trial provided for by this Division is not to proceed.

             (2)  If the Minister makes a decision under subsection (1), any regulations that are in force for the purposes of this Division cease to have effect on the day on which the Minister’s decision takes effect.

             (3)  An instrument made under subsection (1) is a legislative instrument, but section 42 of the Legislative Instruments Act 2003 does not apply to the instrument.

Division 2Trial of remote electronic voting for defence personnel serving outside Australia

202AG  Definitions

                   In this Division:

electronic vote record has the meaning given by subsection 202AK(1).

printed vote record has the meaning given by subsection 202AK(2).

202AH  Regulations may provide for remote electronic voting by defence personnel serving outside Australia

             (1)  The regulations may provide for defence members and defence civilians who:

                     (a)  are registered as remote electronic voters (see section 202AI); and

                     (b)  are serving outside Australia at the time of the first general election, and the first Senate election, held after the commencement of this section;

to vote by a remote electronic voting method at those elections.

             (2)  Without limiting the generality of subsection (1), the regulations may:

                     (a)  determine, or provide for the determination of, the following:

                              (i)  the remote electronic voting method;

                             (ii)  a method for verifying the identity of persons using the remote electronic voting method;

                            (iii)  matters relating to the voting using the remote electronic voting method, including what has to be done after a person has used the method, and matters of privacy and secrecy;

                            (iv)  the number of places where the remote electronic voting method is to be available, where those places are, and the days and hours when the method is to be available; and

                     (b)  allow the remote electronic voting method to be used in a particular period before polling day, as well as on polling day; and

                     (c)  provide for any other matters related to the integrity of the use of the remote electronic voting method.

             (3)  The remote electronic voting method must be such that a person using the method:

                     (a)  for the Senate election referred to in subsection (1):

                              (i)  receives the same information (in the same order), and has the same voting options, as would appear in the ballot‑paper for the Senate election that the person would be given if he or she were instead voting under Part XVI; and

                             (ii)  is able to indicate his or her vote in a way that, if he or she were instead marking a ballot‑paper, would satisfy the requirements of section 239; and

                     (b)  for the general election referred to in subsection (1):

                              (i)  receives the same information (in the same order), and has the same voting options, as would appear in the ballot‑paper for the general election that the person would be given if he or she were instead voting under Part XVI; and

                             (ii)  is able to indicate his or her vote in a way that, if he or she were instead marking a ballot‑paper, would satisfy the requirements of section 240.

             (4)  The regulations may provide for offences in relation to the remote electronic voting method, and may prescribe penalties for those offences. A prescribed penalty must not exceed 50 penalty units.

             (5)  Nothing in this Division or in regulations made for the purposes of this Division authorises any person to vote more than once at an election.

202AI  Regulations must provide for registration of remote electronic voters

             (1)  The regulations must:

                     (a)  provide for the Electoral Commission to keep and maintain a Register of Remote Electronic Voters; and

                     (b)  provide for which defence members and defence civilians may apply to the Electoral Commission for registration as remote electronic voters; and

                     (c)  provide for a process for those defence members and defence civilians to apply for registration as remote electronic voters; and

                     (d)  provide for a process for dealing with applications for registration as a remote electronic voter; and

                     (e)  provide for when a person’s registration as a remote electronic voter may be cancelled.

             (2)  The regulations may provide for any other matters relating to the registration of defence members and defence civilians as remote electronic voters.

202AJ  There must be a record of who has voted using the remote electronic voting method

                   The regulations must require the making of a record of each person who has voted using the remote electronic voting method. The regulations may specify the information that is to be included in the record.

202AK  Transmission of electronic votes to the Electoral Commission and scrutiny of votes

             (1)  The regulations must provide, in relation to each vote cast by a person using the remote electronic voting method:

                     (a)  for the secure transmission of an electronic record of the vote (an electronic vote record) to the Electoral Commission; and

                     (b)  for the secure keeping of the electronic vote record until it is so transmitted.

             (2)  The regulations must provide for the production, for the purposes of the scrutiny, of a printed record (a printed vote record) of each electronic vote record transmitted to the Electoral Commission. The printed vote record must not contain any means of identifying the person who cast the vote.

             (3)  The regulations may specify other requirements relating to any of the following:

                     (a)  the secure keeping and secure transmission of electronic vote records;

                     (b)  printed vote records;

                     (c)  the scrutiny of votes cast using the remote electronic voting method.

202AL  How this Act applies in relation to voting using the remote electronic voting method

             (1)  This Act applies to a printed vote record in the same way as it would apply if that vote record were a ballot‑paper.

             (2)  If a person casts a vote using the remote electronic voting method, the requirements of this Act relating to the person’s right to receive a ballot‑paper are taken to have been satisfied.

             (3)  The regulations may make additional provisions relating to how this Act applies in relation to votes cast using the remote electronic voting method.

202AM  Minister may decide that remote electronic voting trial is not to proceed

             (1)  The Minister may decide in writing that, for security reasons or any other reason that the Minister considers appropriate, the remote electronic voting trial provided for by this Division is not to proceed.

             (2)  If the Minister makes a decision under subsection (1), any regulations that are in force for the purposes of this Division cease to have effect on the day on which the Minister’s decision takes effect.

             (3)  An instrument made under subsection (1) is a legislative instrument, but section 42 of the Legislative Instruments Act 2003 does not apply to the instrument.

Referendum (Machinery Provisions) Act 1984

2  After Part IVA

Insert:

Part IVBTrials of electronic voting methods

Division 1Trial of electronically assisted voting for sight‑impaired people

73L  Definitions

                   In this Division:

sight‑impaired person means a person whose sight is impaired to the extent that he or she is unable to vote without assistance.

vote record has the meaning given by subsection 73P(1).

73M  Regulations may provide for voting by an electronically assisted voting method

             (1)  Subject to subsection (2), the regulations may provide for sight‑impaired people to vote by an electronically assisted voting method at the first referendum held after the commencement of this section.

             (2)  The regulations must provide that a person may vote by an electronically assisted voting method at the referendum referred to in subsection (1) only if the referendum is held on the same day as an election at which sight‑impaired people are able to vote by an electronically assisted voting method under regulations that have effect for the purposes of Division 1 of Part XVB of the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918.

             (3)  Without limiting the generality of subsection (1), the regulations may:

                     (a)  determine, or provide for the determination of, the following:

                              (i)  the electronically assisted voting method;

                             (ii)  matters related to the voting using the electronically assisted voting method, including the provision of assistance to persons using the method, what has to be done after a person has used the method, and matters of privacy and secrecy;

                            (iii)  the number of places where the electronically assisted voting method is to be available, where those places are, and the days and hours when the method is to be available;

                            (iv)  which persons may use the electronically assisted voting method, including a process of applying to use the method; and

                     (b)  allow the electronically assisted voting method to be used in a particular period before voting day, as well as on voting day; and

                     (c)  provide for other matters related to the integrity of the use of the electronically assisted voting method.

             (4)  The electronically assisted voting method must be such that a person using the method at the referendum referred to in subsection (1):

                     (a)  receives the same information (in the same order), and has the same voting options, as would appear in the ballot‑paper for the referendum that the person would be given if he or she were instead voting under Part III; and

                     (b)  is able to indicate his or her vote in a way that, if he or she were instead marking a ballot‑paper, would satisfy the requirements of section 24.

             (5)  The regulations may provide for offences in relation to the electronically assisted voting method, and may prescribe penalties for those offences. A prescribed penalty must not exceed 50 penalty units.

             (6)  Nothing in this Division or in regulations made for the purposes of this Division authorises any person to vote more than once at a referendum.

73N  There must be a record of who has voted using the electronically assisted voting method

                   The regulations must require the making of a record of each person who has voted using the electronically assisted voting method. The regulations may specify the information that is to be included in the record.

73P  There must be a printed record of the vote

             (1)  The regulations must provide, in relation to each vote cast by a person using the electronically assisted voting method, for the production of a printed record (a vote record) of the vote the person has cast. The vote record must not contain any means of identifying the person who cast the vote.

             (2)  The regulations must provide for each vote record to be placed, by a DRO or a pre‑poll voting officer, in an envelope that bears a declaration in the approved form. The regulations may specify other requirements relating to the envelope or the declaration.

73Q  How this Act applies in relation to voting using the electronically assisted voting method

             (1)  This Act (other than Part IVA and Schedule 3) applies in relation to a vote cast using the electronically assisted voting method as if the vote were a pre‑poll vote.

Note:          Pre‑poll votes are a kind of declaration vote. This Act will therefore apply to votes cast using the electronically assisted voting method as if they were that kind of declaration vote.

             (2)  For the purposes of this Act as it applies because of subsection (1):

                     (a)  a vote record is to be treated as if it were a pre‑poll vote ballot‑paper; and

                     (b)  the placing of a vote record in an envelope as mentioned in subsection 73P(2) is to be treated as if it were the placing of a ballot‑paper in an envelope under subsection 73D(6); and

                     (c)  a declaration on an envelope as mentioned in subsection 73P(2) is to be treated as if it were a pre‑poll vote certificate; and

                     (d)  a record made as mentioned in section 73N is to be treated as if it were a record made under subsection 73F(2).

             (3)  If a person casts a vote using the electronically assisted voting method, the requirements of this Act relating to the person’s right to receive a ballot‑paper are taken to have been satisfied.

             (4)  The regulations may make additional provisions relating to how this Act applies in relation to votes cast using the electronically assisted voting method.

Division 2Trial of remote electronic voting for defence personnel serving outside Australia

73R  Definitions

                   In this Division:

defence civilian has the same meaning as in the Defence Force Discipline Act 1982.

defence member has the same meaning as in the Defence Force Discipline Act 1982.

electronic vote record has the meaning given by subsection 73U(1).

printed vote record has the meaning given by subsection 73U(2).

registered remote electronic voter means a defence member or defence civilian who is registered as a remote electronic voter under regulations that have effect for the purposes of section 202AI of the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918.

73S  Regulations may provide for remote electronic voting by defence personnel serving outside Australia

             (1)  Subject to subsection (2), the regulations may provide for defence members and defence civilians who:

                     (a)  are registered remote electronic voters; and

                     (b)  are serving outside Australia at the time of the first referendum held after the commencement of this section;

to vote by a remote electronic voting method at that referendum.

             (2)  The regulations must provide that a person who is a registered remote electronic voter may vote by a remote electronic voting method at the referendum referred to in subsection (1) only if the referendum is held on the same day as an election at which that person is able to vote by a remote electronic voting method under regulations that have effect for the purposes of Division 2 of Part XVB of the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918.

             (3)  Without limiting the generality of subsection (1), the regulations may:

                     (a)  determine, or provide for the determination of, the following:

                              (i)  the remote electronic voting method;

                             (ii)  a method for verifying the identity of persons using the remote electronic voting method;

                            (iii)  matters relating to the voting using the remote electronic voting method, including what has to be done after a person has used the method, and matters of privacy and secrecy;

                            (iv)  the number of places where the remote electronic voting method is to be available, where those places are, and the days and hours when the method is to be available; and

                     (b)  allow the remote electronic voting method to be used in a particular period before voting day, as well as on voting day; and

                     (c)  provide for any other matters related to the integrity of the use of the remote electronic voting method.

             (4)  The remote electronic voting method must be such that a person using the method at the referendum referred to in subsection (1):

                     (a)  receives the same information (in the same order), and has the same voting options, as would appear in the ballot‑paper for the referendum that the person would be given if he or she were instead voting under Part III; and

                     (b)  is able to indicate his or her vote in a way that, if he or she were instead marking a ballot‑paper, would satisfy the requirements of section 24.

             (5)  The regulations may provide for offences in relation to the remote electronic voting method, and may prescribe penalties for those offences. A prescribed penalty must not exceed 50 penalty units.

             (6)  Nothing in this Division or in regulations made for the purposes of this Division authorises any person to vote more than once at a referendum.

73T  There must be a record of who has voted using the remote electronic voting method

                   The regulations must require the making of a record of each person who has voted using the remote electronic voting method. The regulations may specify the information that is to be included in the record.

73U  Transmission of electronic votes to the Electoral Commission and scrutiny of votes

             (1)  The regulations must provide, in relation to each vote cast by a person using the remote electronic voting method:

                     (a)  for the secure transmission of an electronic record of the vote (an electronic vote record) to the Electoral Commission; and

                     (b)  for the secure keeping of the electronic vote record until it is so transmitted.

             (2)  The regulations must provide for the production, for the purposes of the scrutiny, of a printed record (a printed vote record) of each electronic vote record transmitted to the Electoral Commission. The printed vote record must not contain any means of identifying the person who cast the vote.

             (3)  The regulations may specify other requirements relating to any of the following:

                     (a)  the secure keeping and secure transmission of electronic vote records;

                     (b)  printed vote records;

                     (c)  the scrutiny of votes cast using the remote electronic voting method.

73V  How this Act applies in relation to voting using the remote electronic voting method

             (1)  This Act applies to a printed vote record in the same way as it would apply if that vote record were a ballot‑paper.

             (2)  If a person casts a vote using the remote electronic voting method, the requirements of this Act relating to the person’s right to receive a ballot‑paper are taken to have been satisfied.

             (3)  The regulations may make additional provisions relating to how this Act applies in relation to votes cast using the remote electronic voting method.


 

Schedule 3Other amendments

Part 1Proof of identity for people enrolling from outside Australia

Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918

1  Subsection 4(1)

Insert:

Australian passport means a passport issued under the Australian Passports Act 2005.

2  Subsection 98AA(1)

Omit “the applicant”, substitute “an applicant”.

3  Paragraphs 98AA(1)(a) and (b)

Repeal the paragraphs, substitute:

                     (a)  provide documentary evidence of his or her name by providing:

                              (i)  in the case of an applicant for enrolment under section 94A or 95—his or her driver’s licence number or Australian passport number; or

                             (ii)  in any other case—his or her driver’s licence number; or

                     (b)  if:

                              (i)  in the case of an applicant for enrolment under section 94A or 95—the applicant does not possess a driver’s licence or an Australian passport; or

                             (ii)  in any other case—the applicant does not possess a driver’s licence;

                            show to an elector in a prescribed class of electors a prescribed kind of document that identifies the applicant; or

4  Saving—regulations under paragraphs 98AA(1)(a) and (b)

(1)       Regulations in force before the commencement of item 3 for the purposes of paragraphs 98AA(1)(a) and (b) of the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918 continue in force after that commencement as if they had been made for the purposes of those paragraphs as in force after that commencement.

(2)       Subitem (1) does not prevent amendment or repeal of regulations referred to in that subitem.


 

Part 2Pre‑poll voting offices

Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918

5  Subsection 4(1) (definition of pre‑poll voting office)

Omit “subsection 200D(2)”, substitute “subsection 200BA(1)”.

6  After section 200B

Insert:

200BA  Pre‑poll voting offices

             (1)  The Electoral Commission may declare, in writing, for an election:

                     (a)  a specified place to be a pre‑poll voting office; and

                     (b)  the day or days on which, and the hours during which, applications for pre‑poll votes may be made to a pre‑poll voting officer at that place.

             (2)  If the Electoral Commission makes a declaration under subsection (1), the Electoral Commission must:

                     (a)  unless paragraph (b) applies, cause a copy of the declaration to be published in the Gazette before the first day (the first pre‑poll voting day) specified in the declaration under paragraph (1)(b); or

                     (b)  if, because of exceptional circumstances, the declaration is made on the first pre‑poll voting day, or so close to the first pre‑poll voting day that the Electoral Commission is not able to cause a copy of the declaration to be published in the Gazette before that day:

                              (i)  comply with subsection (3); and

                             (ii)  cause a copy of the declaration to be published in the Gazette as soon as practicable after making the declaration.

             (3)  For the purposes of subparagraph (2)(b)(i), the Electoral Commission must, as soon as practicable after making the declaration:

                     (a)  take all reasonable steps to inform the following persons of the place, the day or days, and the hours specified in the declaration:

                              (i)  each candidate for election to the House of Representatives for the Division in which the place is located;

                             (ii)  each candidate for election to the Senate for the State or Territory in which the place is located;

                            (iii)  if a candidate referred to in subparagraph (i) or (ii) has been endorsed by a registered political party—that political party; and

                     (b)  if it considers it appropriate to do so, publish in a newspaper circulating in the Division in which the place specified in the declaration is located a notice stating:

                              (i)  that the place has been declared to be a pre‑poll voting office; and

                             (ii)  the day or days on which, and the hours during which, applications for pre‑poll votes may be made to a pre‑poll voting officer at that place.

             (4)  A declaration made under subsection (1) is not a legislative instrument.

7  Subsection 200D(2)

Repeal the subsection, substitute:

             (2)  An application to a pre‑poll voting officer must be made:

                     (a)  at a pre‑poll voting office; and

                     (b)  on a day, and during the hours, specified in the declaration made under subsection 200BA(1) for making such applications at that office.

8  Subsection 200DB(3)

Omit “fixed under paragraph 200D(2)(b)”, substitute “declared under paragraph 200BA(1)(b)”.

9  Subparagraph 348(4)(c)(ii)

Omit “have been declared under subsection 200D(2),”, substitute “are a pre‑poll voting office—”.

Referendum (Machinery Provisions) Act 1984

10  Subsection 3(1) (definition of pre‑poll voting office)

Omit “subsection 73B(2)”, substitute “subsection 73AA(1)”.

11  After section 73

Insert:

73AA  Pre‑poll voting offices

             (1)  The Electoral Commission may declare, in writing, for a referendum:

                     (a)  a specified place to be a pre‑poll voting office; and

                     (b)  the day or days on which, and the hours during which, applications for pre‑poll votes may be made to a pre‑poll voting officer at that place.

             (2)  If the Electoral Commission makes a declaration under subsection (1), the Electoral Commission must:

                     (a)  unless paragraph (b) applies, cause a copy of the declaration to be published in the Gazette before the first day (the first pre‑poll voting day) specified in the declaration under paragraph (1)(b); or

                     (b)  if, because of exceptional circumstances, the declaration is made on the first pre‑poll voting day, or so close to the first pre‑poll voting day that the Electoral Commission is not able to cause a copy of the declaration to be published in the Gazette before that day:

                              (i)  comply with subsection (3); and

                             (ii)  cause a copy of the declaration to be published in the Gazette as soon as practicable after making the declaration.

             (3)  For the purposes of subparagraph (2)(b)(i), the Electoral Commission must, as soon as practicable after making the declaration:

                     (a)  take all reasonable steps to inform each registered political party that the Electoral Commission considers it appropriate to inform, of the place, the day or days, and the hours specified in the declaration; and

                     (b)  if it considers it appropriate to do so, publish in a newspaper circulating in the Division in which the place specified in the declaration is located a notice stating:

                              (i)  that the place has been declared to be a pre‑poll voting office; and

                             (ii)  the day or days on which, and the hours during which, applications for pre‑poll votes may be made to a pre‑poll voting officer at that place.

             (4)  A declaration made under subsection (1) is not a legislative instrument.

             (5)  In this section:

registered political party has the same meaning as in the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918.

12  Subsection 73B(2)

Repeal the subsection, substitute:

             (2)  An application to a pre‑poll voting officer must be made:

                     (a)  at a pre‑poll voting office; and

                     (b)  on a day, and during the hours, specified in the declaration made under subsection 73AA(1) for making such applications at that office.

13  Paragraph 73C(a)

Omit “subsection 200D(2)”, substitute “subsection 200BA(1)”.

14  Paragraph 73C(a)

Omit “subsection 73B(2)”, substitute “subsection 73AA(1)”.

15  Subsection 73CB(3)

Omit “fixed under paragraph 73B(2)(b)”, substitute “declared under paragraph 73AA(1)(b)”.

16  Subparagraph 135(4)(c)(ii)

Omit “have been declared under subsection 73B(2),”, substitute “are a pre‑poll voting office—”.


 

Part 3Removal of provision relating to defamation of candidates and false statements

Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918

17  Section 350

Repeal the section.

 

 

 

[Minister’s second reading speech made in—

House of Representatives on 30 November 2006

Senate on 7 December 2006]

(176/06)