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A Bill for an Act to amend the law relating to elections in respect of ballot papers and to provide for optional preferential voting and ensure voter choice
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Registered 03 Dec 2021
Introduced Senate 01 Dec 2021
Table of contents.

2019‑2021

 

The Parliament of the

Commonwealth of Australia

 

THE SENATE

 

 

 

 

Presented and read a first time

 

 

 

 

Commonwealth Electoral Amendment (Ensuring Voter Choice Through Optional Preferential Voting and the Robson Rotation) Bill 2021

 

No.      , 2021

 

(Senator McGrath)

 

 

 

A Bill for an Act to amend the law relating to elections in respect of ballot papers and to provide for optional preferential voting and ensure voter choice

  

  


Contents

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

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

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

Schedule 1—Amendments                                                                                                3

Part 1—Amendments relating to optional preferential voting                 3

Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918                                                                         3

Part 2—Amendments relating to ballot papers                                                6

Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918                                                                         6

 

 


A Bill for an Act to amend the law relating to elections in respect of ballot papers and to provide for optional preferential voting and ensure voter choice

The Parliament of Australia enacts:

1  Short title

                   This Act is the Commonwealth Electoral Amendment (Ensuring Voter Choice Through Optional Preferential Voting and the Robson Rotation) 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

A single day to be fixed by Proclamation.

However, if the provisions do not commence within the period of 6 months beginning on the day this Act receives the Royal Assent, they commence on the day after the end of that period.

 

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 1Amendments

Part 1Amendments relating to optional preferential voting

Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918

1  Paragraph 240(1)(b)

Repeal the paragraph, substitute:

                     (b)  if the person wishes to vote for any additional candidates—writing numbers beginning with the number “2” in the squares opposite the names of those additional candidates in the order of the person’s preference for them.

2  At the end of section 240

Add:

             (3)  If a person records the same preference (other than the person’s first preference) on the ballot paper for more than 1 candidate, the ballot paper must be treated as if those preferences and any subsequent preferences had not been recorded on the ballot paper.

             (4)  If a person records preferences on the ballot paper with a break in the order of preferences, the ballot paper must be treated as if any preferences subsequent to the break had not been recorded on the ballot paper.

3  Paragraph 268(1)(c)

Repeal the paragraph, substitute:

                     (c)  in a House of Representatives election, it has no vote indicated on it, or it does not indicate the voter’s first preference for 1 candidate;

4  Subparagraph 274(7)(d)(i)

Repeal the subparagraph, substitute:

                              (i)  the candidate who has received the fewest first preference votes shall be excluded;

                            (ia)  each ballot paper counted to the candidate that expresses no preference for another candidate, or expresses preferences for excluded candidates only, shall be set aside as exhausted;

                            (ib)  each remaining ballot paper counted to the candidate shall be counted to the candidate next in the order of the voter’s preference;

5  Subparagraph 274(7)(d)(ii)

Omit “and counting each of his or her ballot papers”, substitute “setting aside his or her ballot papers that have been exhausted, and counting each of his or her remaining ballot papers”.

6  Paragraph 274(7AA)(c)

Repeal the paragraph, substitute:

                     (c)  if subparagraph (b)(ii) applies:

                              (i)  set aside as exhausted each ballot paper of an excluded candidate that expresses no preference for another candidate, or expresses preferences for excluded candidates only; and

                             (ii)  count each remaining ballot paper of an excluded candidate to whichever of the first or second ranked candidates is earlier in the order of preference expressed on the ballot paper.

7  Subsection 274(10)

After “informal”, insert “and exhausted”.

8  Schedule 1 (Form F)

Repeal the form, substitute:

Section 209

FORM F

 

BALLOT PAPER

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

[here insert name of State or Territory as appropriate]

Electoral Division of [here insert name of Division].

Write the number 1 in the box next to the candidate of your choice. You can show more choices, if you want to, by writing numbers in the other boxes, starting with the number 2.

 

31
2

[1     Here insert name of a candidate.

 2     Here insert name of a registered political

31
2
1
2

party, composite name of registered political parties

or “Independent” if to be printed.

 3    Here insert logo of a registered party if to be printed.]

31
2

 

 

Remember. . . . number at least one box to make your vote count.

Part 2Amendments relating to ballot papers

Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918

9  Subsection 4(1)

Insert:

favoured position, in relation to a ballot paper for a House of Representatives election, means (reading from the top of the ballot paper):

                     (a)  if the names of 2 candidates are to appear on the ballot paper—the first position on the ballot paper; and

                     (b)  if the names of 3 candidates are to appear on the ballot paper—the first and third positions on the ballot paper; and

                     (c)  if the names of 4 candidates are to appear on the ballot paper—the first and fourth positions on the ballot paper; and

                     (d)  if the names of 5 candidates are to appear on the ballot paper—the first, third and fifth positions on the ballot paper; and

                     (e)  if the names of 6 candidates are to appear on the ballot paper—the first, second, fifth and sixth positions on the ballot paper; and

                      (f)  if the names of 7 candidates are to appear on the ballot paper—the first, second, sixth and seventh positions on the ballot paper; and

                     (g)  if the names of 8 candidates are to appear on the ballot paper—the first, second, seventh and eighth positions on the ballot paper; and

                     (h)  if the names of 9 candidates are to appear on the ballot paper—the first, second, eighth and ninth positions on the ballot paper; and

                      (i)  if the names of 10 or more candidates are to appear on the ballot paper—the first, second, third and last 3 positions on the ballot paper.

10  Paragraph 209(7)(c)

After “Division in”, insert “, as far as practicable,”.

11  Section 212

Repeal the section, substitute:

212  Ballot papers for House of Representatives elections

             (1)  This section applies in relation to the printing of ballot papers to be used in a House of Representatives election.

Candidate names and squares

             (2)  Where similarity in the names of 2 or more candidates is likely to cause confusion, the names of those candidates may be arranged with such description or addition as will distinguish them from one another.

             (3)  Except as otherwise provided by the regulations, a square must be printed opposite the name of each candidate.

Printing of batches of ballot papers

             (4)  Ballot papers must be printed in batches with the ballot papers within each batch having the same order of candidate names.

             (5)  There must be 2 sets of batches.

             (6)  The first set of batches must be printed in accordance with subsections (8) and (9).

             (7)  The second set of batches must be printed so that:

                     (a)  there is a batch corresponding to each batch in the first set of batches; and

                     (b)  the corresponding batch in the second set of batches has the name of the same candidate in the first position, but the order of the names below the first name is reversed; and

                     (c)  the number of ballot papers in each batch in the second set of batches is, as far as practicable, equal to the number of ballot papers in each batch in the first set of batches.

Example:    If the order of names on a batch in the first set of batches is ABCDE, the order of names on the corresponding batch in the second set of batches is AEDCB.

Ballot papers to be printed in equal batches

             (8)  In relation to each candidate on a ballot paper:

                     (a)  there must be printed, in respect of each of the favoured positions for the ballot paper, a batch of ballot papers on which the name of the candidate appears in such a favoured position; and

                     (b)  the number of ballot papers in each batch on which the name of the candidate appears in a particular favoured position must, as far as practicable, be equal to the number of ballot papers in each of the other batches of ballot papers on which the name of every other candidate appears in the favoured position.

Order of names of candidates on first batch

             (9)  For the printing of the first batch of ballot papers, the names of the candidates must be listed in the order determined by the Divisional Returning Officer in accordance with section 213.

Order for subsequent batches

           (10)  Subject to this section, the printing order for subsequent batches must be as prescribed by Schedule 2A.

Collation of ballot papers

           (11)  The Commissioner must, as far as practicable, ensure that before ballot papers for a House of Representatives election in respect of a Division are distributed to Divisional Returning Officers, each issue of ballot papers is collated in such a way that the ballot paper immediately following another ballot paper in the issue is in a form different from that of the other ballot paper.

Issuing of ballot papers

           (12)  When issuing ballot papers, a presiding officer or polling official must, as far as practicable, issue an elector with a ballot paper in a different form from the previous ballot paper the officer or official issued.


12  After Schedule 2

Insert:

Schedule 2A—Printing order

(section 212)                       

  

              1.  For the purposes of subsection 212(10), the printing order for subsequent batches of ballot papers must be as follows:

                     (a)  if there are the names of 2 candidates on the ballot paper:

2nd batch

B

A

 

                     (b)  if there are the names of 3 candidates on the ballot paper:

2nd batch

3rd batch

B

C

C

A

A

B

 

                     (c)  if there are the names of 4 candidates on the ballot paper:

2nd batch

3rd batch

4th batch

D

B

C

C

A

D

A

D

B

B

C

A

 

                     (d)  if there are the names of 5 candidates on the ballot paper:

2nd batch

3rd batch

4th batch

5th batch

C

E

D

B

A

C

E

D

E

D

B

A

B

A

C

E

D

B

A

C

 

                     (e)  if there are the names of 6 candidates on the ballot paper:

2nd batch

3rd batch

4th batch

5th batch

6th batch

B

E

D

F

C

E

D

F

C

A

A

B

E

D

F

F

C

A

B

E

D

F

C

A

B

C

A

B

E

D

 

                      (f)  if there are the names of 7 candidates on the ballot paper:

2nd batch

3rd batch

4th batch

5th batch

6th batch

7th batch

B

F

E

G

C

D

F

E

G

C

D

A

D

A

B

F

E

G

A

B

F

E

G

C

G

C

D

A

B

F

E

G

C

D

A

B

C

D

A

B

F

E

 

                     (g)  if there are the names of 8 candidates on the ballot paper:

2nd batch

3rd batch

4th batch

5th batch

6th batch

7th batch

8th batch

B

G

D

H

C

E

F

G

D

H

C

E

F

A

A

B

E

F

H

D

G

E

F

G

B

A

C

H

F

A

B

D

G

H

C

H

C

A

G

D

B

E

D

H

C

E

F

A

B

C

E

F

A

B

G

D

 

                     (h)  if there are the names of 9 candidates on the ballot paper:

2nd batch

3rd batch

4th batch

5th batch

6th batch

7th batch

8th batch

9th batch

B

H

G

I

C

D

E

F

H

G

I

C

D

E

F

A

D

E

F

A

B

H

G

I

E

F

A

B

H

G

I

C

F

A

B

H

G

I

C

D

A

B

H

G

I

C

D

E

I

C

D

E

F

A

B

H

G

I

C

D

E

F

A

B

C

D

E

F

A

B

H

G

 

                      (i)  if there are the names of 10 candidates on the ballot paper:

2nd batch

3rd batch

4th batch

5th batch

6th batch

7th batch

8th batch

9th batch

10th batch

B

H

C

E

I

G

F

D

J

H

C

E

I

G

F

D

J

A

E

I

G

F

D

J

A

B

H

J

A

F

B

C

E

I

G

I

I

G

A

D

J

H

B

H

C

D

J

B

A

H

C

E

I

G

F

D

J

H

B

A

C

E

F

C

E

I

G

F

D

J

A

B

G

F

D

J

A

B

H

C

E

A

B

H

C

E

I

G

F

D

 

                      (j)  if there are the names of 11 candidates on the ballot paper:

2nd batch

3rd batch

4th batch

5th batch

6th batch

7th batch

8th batch

9th batch

10th batch

11th batch

B

I

C

D

J

G

F

E

K

H

I

C

D

J

G

F

E

K

H

A

D

J

G

F

E

K

H

A

B

I

J

B

K

C

A

H

I

F

E

G

A

G

F

H

K

I

C

B

D

J

K

H

A

E

B

C

G

D

J

K

F

E

H

A

I

B

D

J

I

C

E

K

I

B

D

J

A

C

G

F

C

D

J

G

F

E

K

H

A

B

G

F

E

K

H

A

B

I

C

D

H

A

B

I

C

D

J

G

F

E

 

                     (k)  if there are the names of 12 candidates on the ballot paper:

2nd batch

3rd batch

4th batch

5th batch

6th batch

7th batch

8th batch

9th batch

10th batch

11th batch

12th batch

B

J

C

E

K

G

H

D

L

F

I

J

C

E

K

G

H

D

L

F

I

A

E

K

G

H

D

L

F

I

A

B

J

A

B

H

F

L

J

I

G

E

K

C

D

F

I

A

C

K

J

H

B

L

G

H

A

B

D

I

E

C

J

C

G

K

I

D

L

J

A

F

B

E

K

J

H

K

L

J

I

B

A

G

C

D

E

F

L

G

F

C

E

B

K

A

H

D

L

C

E

K

G

H

D

L

F

I

A

B

G

H

D

L

F

I

A

B

J

C

E

F

I

A

B

J

C

E

K

G

H

D

 

                      (l)  if there are the names of more than 12 candidates on the ballot paper, positions, other than favoured positions, must be determined by the Divisional Returning Officer in accordance with section 213.