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A Bill for an Act to amend the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918, and for related purposes
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Registered 02 Sep 2021
Introduced Senate 01 Sep 2021
Table of contents.

2019‑2021

 

The Parliament of the

Commonwealth of Australia

 

THE SENATE

 

 

 

 

Presented and read a first time

 

 

 

 

Commonwealth Electoral Amendment (Integrity of Elections) Bill 2021

 

No.      , 2021

 

(Senator Roberts)

 

 

 

A Bill for an Act to amend the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918, and for related purposes

  

  


Contents

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

2............ Commencement................................................................................... 1

3............ Schedules............................................................................................ 2

Schedule 1—Integrity of federal elections                                                               3

Part 1—Main amendments                                                                                         3

Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918                                                                         3

Part 2—Consequential amendments                                                                      6

Intelligence Services Act 2001                                                                                  6

Schedule 2—Voter identification                                                                                  7

Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918                                                                         7

 

 


A Bill for an Act to amend the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918, and for related purposes

The Parliament of Australia enacts:

1  Short title

                   This Act is the Commonwealth Electoral Amendment (Integrity of Elections) Act 2021.

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

Provisions

Commencement

Date/Details

1.  The whole of this Act

The day after this Act receives the Royal Assent.

 

Note:          This table relates only to the provisions of this Act as originally enacted. It will not be amended to deal with any later amendments of this Act.

             (2)  Any information in column 3 of the table is not part of this Act. Information may be inserted in this column, or information in it may be edited, in any published version of this Act.

3  Schedules

                   Legislation 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 1Integrity of federal elections

Part 1Main amendments

Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918

1  After Part XIX

Insert:

Part XIXAUse of technology

  

286AA  Interpretation

                   In this part:

authorised technology means any technology:

                     (a)  used as authorised or required by this Act; or

                     (b)  used by the Electoral Commission in connection with its functions under this Act.

cyber integrity of a federal election means that the authorised technology used during the election is:

                     (a)  protected from access, interference and impairment by unauthorised parties; and

                     (b)  only accessible by authorised parties.

federal election means a General election, House of Representatives election or Senate election.

286AB  Auditing of authorised technology at federal elections

             (1)  The Auditor General’s functions include the conducting of audits of the use of authorised technology at federal elections.

             (2)  The Auditor‑General must conduct audits of authorised technology used at federal elections and the results of those audits must be provided to the Electoral Commissioner:

                     (a)  at least 7 days before voting commences in each federal election; and

                     (b)  within 60 days after the return of the writs for each federal election.

             (3)  Without limiting the content of the audits, the Auditor‑General must determine whether the use of authorised technology:

                     (a)  produces the same result as would be obtained without the use of authorised technology; or

                     (b)  if it is used to store information—replicates the information that would be stored without the use of authorised technology.

             (4)  The Auditor‑General may make recommendations to the Electoral Commissioner in relation to reducing or eliminating any risks to authorised technology that could affect the security, accuracy or integrity of voting.

286AC  Auditing of authorised technology at commencement of this section

             (1)  As soon as possible after the commencement of this section, the Auditor‑General must conduct an audit of authorised technology that is to be used at the next federal election after the commencement of this section.

             (2)  However, if the writs for the next federal election after the commencement of this section are issued within 6 weeks after the commencement of this section, the audit must be conducted after the return of the writs for that election.

             (3)  Without limiting the content of the audit, the Auditor‑General must determine whether any authorised technology that is to be used:

                     (a)  produces the same result as would be obtained without the use of authorised technology; or

                     (b)  if it is to be used to store information—replicates the information that would be stored without the use of authorised technology.

             (4)  The Auditor‑General must advise the Electoral Commissioner in relation to whether any authorised technology that is to be used at the next federal election is fit for purpose.

286AD  Ensuring cyber integrity of federal elections

             (1)  The Australian Signals Directorate’s functions include ensuring the cyber integrity of federal elections during the period:

                     (a)  starting at the issue of writs for a federal election; and

                     (b)  ending at the return of writs for that federal election.

             (2)  Without limiting subsection (1), the Australian Signals Directorate must prevent and disrupt any interference with the cyber integrity of federal elections.

             (3)  The Director‑General of the Australian Signals Directorate must advise the Electoral Commissioner on the cyber integrity of each federal election.

Part 2Consequential amendments

Intelligence Services Act 2001

2  At the end of subsection 7(1)

Add:

             ; and (g)  any functions given to the ASD by the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918.

Schedule 2Voter identification

  

Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918

1  Subsection 4(1)

Insert:

community identity document means a document prescribed by rules made under section 394A.

Indigenous person means a person who is:

                     (a)  a member of the Aboriginal race of Australia; or

                     (b)  a descendant of an Indigenous inhabitant of the Torres Strait Islands.

proof of identity document means any of the following:

                     (a)  a current driver’s licence issued by or on behalf of an authority of an Australian State or Territory;

                     (b)  a current Australian passport;

                     (c)  a current proof of age card issued by or on behalf of an authority of a State or Territory;

                     (d)  a current identification card issued by or on behalf of an authority of the Commonwealth or an authority of a State or Territory;

Example: A Commonwealth seniors health card, low income health care card, Medicare card, pensioner concession card or veterans’ health card.

                     (e)  an enrolment acknowledgement letter issued by the Electoral Commission within the preceding 12 months;

                      (f)  an account or notice issued by a local government authority or utility provider within the preceding 12 months;

Example: A council rates notice, electricity account statement, gas account statement or water bill.

                     (g)  an account statement issued within the preceding 12 months by a carriage service provider as defined by section 87 of the Telecommunications Act 1997;

Example: A telephone bill or internet bill.

                     (h)  a notice of assessment issued under section 166 of the Income Tax Assessment Act 1936 within the preceding 12 months;

                      (i)  a community identity document;

                      (j)  any other document in relation to the elector that is recognised as proof of identity under a law of the Commonwealth, a State or a Territory.

2  After paragraph 200DG(1)(b)

Insert:

                   (ba)  the voter has shown the voter’s proof of identity document to a voting officer; and

                   (bb)  the voting officer is reasonably satisfied that the voter is a particular person on a copy of the certified list of voters, or on an approved list of voters, for a particular Division; and

3  Paragraph 200DG(2)(b)(ii)

Omit “subsection 200DI(1)”, substitute “paragraph 200DI(1)(b)”.

4  Paragraph 200DG(2)(c)

Repeal the paragraph.

5  Section 200DI

Repeal the section, substitute:

200DI  Voter identification and questions to be put to voter

             (1)  A voting officer must:

                     (a)  request to be shown the proof of identity document of each person attending before the voting officer, and claiming to vote in an election or elections (as the case requires); and

                     (b)  put to the person questions in relation to:

                              (i)  the person’s full name; and

                             (ii)  the person’s place of living; and

                            (iii)  whether the person has voted before in the election or elections (as the case requires).

             (2)  For the purpose of paragraph 200DG(1)(bb), when considering whether the voting officer is reasonably satisfied that the person claiming to vote is a particular person on a copy of the certified list of voters or on an approved list of voters for a particular Division, the voting officer must take into account only:

                     (a)  if the person shows the person’s proof of identity document as requested under paragraph (1)(a)—the proof of identity document; and

                     (b)  the answers the person gives to the questions put to the person under subparagraphs (1)(b)(i) and (ii);

Note:          The person is not entitled to vote by pre‑poll ordinary vote if the person answers a question under paragraph 200DI(1)(b) so as to indicate that the person has voted before in the relevant election or elections (as the case requires), see subparagraph 200DG(2)(b)(ii).

6  Section 229

Repeal the section, substitute:

229  Voter identification and questions to be put to voter

             (1)  A presiding officer or polling official must:

                     (a)  request to be shown the proof of identity document of each person attending before the officer or official, and claiming to vote in an election or elections (as the case requires); and

                     (b)  put to the person questions in relation to:

                              (i)  the person’s full name; and

                             (ii)  the person’s place of living; and

                            (iii)  whether the person has voted before in the election or elections (as the case requires).

             (2)  In addition to the questions put under paragraph (1)(b), the officer or official must ask each person claiming to vote as an absent voter in an election to identify the Division for which the person is enrolled.

             (3)  A person’s claim to vote must (subject to section 235) be rejected if:

                     (a)  any of the following applies:

                              (i)  the person does not show the person’s proof of identity document to the presiding officer or polling official as requested under paragraph (1)(a);

                             (ii)  the person refuses to fully answer any of the questions put to the person under paragraph (1)(b);

                            (iii)  the person answers a question put to the person under paragraph (1)(b) so as to indicate that the person has voted before in the relevant election or elections (as the case requires); and

                     (b)  the presiding officer:

                              (i)  is satisfied that subparagraph (a)(i), (ii), or (iii) applies in relation to the person; or

                             (ii)  is not reasonably satisfied that the person is a particular person on a copy of the certified list of voters or on an approved list of voters for a particular Division.

Note:          Section 235 deals with provisional votes.

             (4)  For the purpose of subparagraph (3)(b)(ii), when considering whether the presiding officer is reasonably satisfied that the person claiming to vote is a particular person on a copy of the certified list of voters or on an approved list of voters for a particular Division, the presiding officer must take into account only:

                     (a)  if the person shows the person’s proof of identity document as requested under paragraph (1)(a)—the proof of identity document; and

                     (b)  the answers the person gives to the questions put to the person under subparagraphs (1)(b)(i) and (ii).

7  Paragraph 231(1)(a)

Repeal the paragraph, substitute:

                     (a)  if the person’s claim to vote is not rejected under subsection 229(3); or

8  After paragraph 235(1)(a)

Insert:

                    (aa)  the person does not show the person’s proof of identity document to the presiding officer or polling official; or

9  Paragraph 235(1)(c)

Repeal the paragraph, substitute:

                     (c)  questions are put to the voter under subparagraph 229(1)(b)(i) or (ii) and the person refuses to fully answer any of the questions; or

10  After paragraph 235(1)(c)

Insert:

                    (ca)  the presiding officer or polling official is not reasonably satisfied that the person claiming to vote is a particular person on the certified list of voters, or an approved list of voters, for a particular Division; or

11  After subsection 235(1)

Insert:

       (1AA)  For the purpose of paragraph 235(1)(ca), when considering whether the officer or official is reasonably satisfied that the person claiming to vote is a particular person on the certified list of voters or on an approved list of voters for a particular Division, the officer or official must take into account only:

                     (a)  if the person shows the person’s proof of identity document as requested under subparagraph 229(1)(a)—the proof of identity document; and

                     (b)  the answers the person gives to the questions put to the person under subparagraph 229(1)(b).

12  After section 394

Insert:

394A  Electoral Commissioner to make rules related to community identity documents

             (1)  The Electoral Commissioner must, by legislative instrument, make rules to prescribe:

                     (a)  the circumstances in which a document is a community identity document; and

                     (b)  the form of a community identity document; and

                     (c)  matters necessary or convenient to be prescribed in relation to the use of a community identity document as a proof of identity document.

             (2)  The rules must provide for an employee of a local health or welfare service to give a community identity document in relation to a person if:

                     (a)  the employee is satisfied of the identity of the person; and

                     (b)  the person is one or more of the following:

                              (i)  an itinerant elector;

                             (ii)  an Indigenous person in a remote area;

                            (iii)  a disadvantaged person.

             (3)  The rules may provide for:

                     (a)  only specified employees of a local health or welfare service to issue a community identity document; and

                     (b)  the meaning of terms including but not limited to the following:

                              (i)  disadvantaged;

                             (ii)  remote area;

                            (iii)  employee of a local health or welfare service; and

                     (c)  the matters that an employee of a local health or welfare service must or may take into account when considering whether:

                              (i)  the employee is satisfied of the identity of a person under paragraph (2)(a); and

                             (ii)  a person is a person referred to in paragraph (2)(b).

Note:          For specification by class, see subsection 13(3) of the Legislation Act 2003.