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A Bill for an Act to amend the law relating to elections and referendums in respect of voter identification and to provide for application of the amendments
For authoritative information on the progress of bills and on amendments proposed to them, please see the House of Representatives Votes and Proceedings, and the Journals of the Senate as available on the Parliament House website.
Registered 11 Feb 2022
Introduced Senate 09 Feb 2022
Table of contents.

2019‑2022

 

The Parliament of the

Commonwealth of Australia

 

THE SENATE

 

 

 

 

Presented and read a first time

 

 

 

 

Electoral Legislation Amendment (Voter Identification) Bill 2022

 

No.      , 2022

 

(Senator McGrath)

 

 

 

A Bill for an Act to amend the law relating to elections and referendums in respect of voter identification and to provide for application of the amendments

  

  


Contents

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

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

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

Schedule 1—Amendments                                                                                                3

Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918                                                                         3

Referendum (Machinery Provisions) Act 1984                                                    11

 

 


A Bill for an Act to amend the law relating to elections and referendums in respect of voter identification and to provide for application of the amendments

The Parliament of Australia enacts:

1  Short title

                   This Act is the Electoral Legislation Amendment (Voter Identification) Act 2022.

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Note:          This table relates only to the provisions of this Act as originally enacted.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 1Amendments

  

Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918

1  Subsection 4(1)

Insert:

proof of identity document has the meaning given by section 4AB.

2  After section 4AA

Insert:

4AB  Definition of proof of identity document

                   A proof of identity document is any of the following (including any of the following in electronic form):

                     (a)  a current driver’s licence issued under the law of a State or Territory or a law in force in Norfolk Island;

                     (b)  a current Australian passport;

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

                     (d)  a birth certificate issued by or on behalf of a State or Territory or an authority of a State or Territory;

                     (e)  a notice evidencing a person’s Australian citizenship that is given under section 37 of the Australian Citizenship Act 2007;

                      (f)  a current identification card (however described) issued by or on behalf of:

                              (i)  the Commonwealth or a State or Territory; or

                             (ii)  an authority of the Commonwealth or of a State or Territory;

                     (g)  an account statement or notice (however described) issued by a local government body, utilities provider or carriage service provider in the last 12 months;

                     (h)  either:

                              (i)  a current credit card or debit card issued by an Australian financial institution; or

                             (ii)  an account statement issued by an Australian financial institution in the last 12 months;

                      (i)  a notice of assessment (including an amended assessment) issued in the last 12 months under the Income Tax Assessment Act 1936 in respect of a year of income;

                      (j)  a notice issued by the Electoral Commissioner under this Act notifying a person of the person’s enrolment;

                     (k)  a document that relates to the affairs of a particular person, that specifies the person’s name and that is issued in the ordinary course of business by:

                              (i)  an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander land council or land trust (however described) established by or under a law of the Commonwealth, a State or a Territory; or

                             (ii)  a body corporate that is prescribed by, or is of a kind prescribed by, regulations made for the purposes of section 59 of the Native Title Act 1993.

Note 1:       For paragraph (f), a medicare card, a Commonwealth seniors health card, a Commonwealth pensioner concession card and a Commonwealth Repatriation Health Card are examples of identification cards.

Note 2:       For paragraph (g), a council rates notice, an electricity account statement, a gas account statement, a water and sewerage account statement, a mobile phone account statement and an internet service account statement are examples of account statements or notices.

3  After paragraph 200DG(1)(a)

Insert:

                    (aa)  a request made of the voter under paragraph 200DI(1)(a) is satisfied in accordance with subsection 200DI(4); and

                   (ab)  the voting officer is reasonably satisfied of the identity of the voter; and

4  Paragraph 200DG(2)(b)

Repeal the paragraph, substitute:

                     (a)  any of the following apply:

                              (i)  a request made of the voter under paragraph 200DI(1)(a) is not satisfied in accordance with subsection 200DI(4);

                             (ii)  the voter refuses to answer fully any question the voter is asked under subsection 200DI(2);

                            (iii)  the voter answers a question under paragraph 200DI(1)(b) so as to indicate that the voter has voted before in the relevant election or elections (as the case requires); or

5  Paragraph 200DG(2)(c)

Repeal the paragraph, substitute:

                     (c)  the voting officer who made the request under paragraph 200DI(1)(a) is not reasonably satisfied of the identity of the voter; or

6  At the end of section 200DG

Add:

             (3)  If, under this section, the voter is not entitled to vote by pre‑poll ordinary vote, the voting officer must inform the voter that the voter may make a pre‑poll declaration vote in accordance with Division 4.

7  Section 200DI

Repeal the section, substitute:

200DI  Establishing voter’s identity

             (1)  A voting officer must:

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

                     (b)  ask questions of the person in order to work out whether the person has voted before in the election or elections (as the case requires).

             (2)  The voting officer may ask questions of the person in order to work out the person’s full name or the person’s place of living, or both.

             (3)  If the voting officer is not 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, the officer may ask the person one or more questions about matters shown on the list for the particular person to establish whether the person is that particular person.

             (4)  A request made of a person (the voter) under paragraph (1)(a) is satisfied if:

                     (a)  the voter produces to the voting officer a proof of identity document for the voter; or

                     (b)  all of the following apply:

                              (i)  another person (the attester) who is enrolled produces to the voting officer a proof of identity document for the attester that satisfies subsection (5);

                             (ii)  the attester attests to the voter’s identity by completing the approved form, including by specifying the attester’s full name, enrolled address, the kind of proof of identity document produced by the attester and the name of the voter;

                            (iii)  the attester and the voter sign the approved form in the presence of the voting officer.

             (5)  A proof of identity document produced by the attester satisfies this subsection if either or both of the following apply:

                     (a)  it is issued by or on behalf of:

                              (i)  the Commonwealth or a State or Territory; or

                             (ii)  an authority of the Commonwealth or of a State or Territory;

                     (b)  it contains the attester’s name and place of living.

             (6)  A voting officer must not:

                     (a)  make a copy (including an electronic copy) of a proof of identity document produced by a person under this section; or

                     (b)  electronically scan a proof of identity document produced by a person under this section; or

                     (c)  make a record (including an electronic record) of:

                              (i)  the kind of proof of identity document produced by a person under this section; or

                             (ii)  any information contained in a proof of identity document produced by a person under this section; or

                     (d)  retain a proof of identity document produced by a person under this section.

             (7)  A voting officer may, at the request of the attester, complete (but not sign) the whole or a part of the approved form mentioned in subparagraph (4)(b)(ii) for the attester. By doing so, the voting officer does not make a record of information covered by subparagraph (6)(c)(i) or (ii).

Note:          Section 336 deals with signing an approved form.

8  At the end of subsection 200DJ(1)

Add:

Note:          Division 4 deals with pre‑poll declaration votes.

9  At the end of subsection 202AB(1)

Add “The regulations must not make provision for such a person to be requested or required to produce a proof of identity document for the person.”.

10  At the end of subsection 202AB(1A)

Add “The regulations must not make provision for such an elector to be requested or required to produce a proof of identity document for the elector.”.

11  Subsection 221(3)

Omit “unless a person shows by his or her answers to the questions under section 200DI or 229 that he or she is not entitled to vote”, substitute “subject to the application of section 200DG or 229 in relation to a person”.

12  At the end of subsection 227(3)

Add:

Note:          Subsection (3) has the effect, for example, that section 200DI or 229 applies in relation to taking votes under this section.

13  Section 229 (heading)

Repeal the heading, substitute:

229  Establishing voter’s identity etc.

14  Subsections 229(1) to (4)

Repeal the subsections, substitute:

             (1)  The presiding officer or a polling official must:

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

                     (b)  ask questions of the person in order to work out whether the person has voted before in the election or elections (as the case requires).

             (2)  The presiding officer or the polling official may ask questions of the person in order to work out the person’s full name or the person’s place of living, or both.

             (3)  The presiding officer or the polling official must also ask each person claiming to vote as an absent voter in an election or elections (as the case requires) to identify the Division for which the person is enrolled.

             (4)  If the presiding officer or the polling official is not satisfied that the person is a particular person on the certified list of voters, or on an approved list of voters, for the relevant Division, the officer or official may ask the person one or more questions about matters shown on the list for the particular person to establish whether the person is that particular person.

          (4A)  A request made of a person (the voter) under paragraph (1)(a) is satisfied if:

                     (a)  the voter produces to the presiding officer or the polling official a proof of identity document for the voter; or

                     (b)  all of the following apply:

                              (i)  another person (the attester) who is enrolled produces to the presiding officer or the polling official a proof of identity document for the attester that satisfies subsection (4B);

                             (ii)  the attester attests to the voter’s identity by completing the approved form, including by specifying the attester’s full name, enrolled address, the kind of proof of identity document produced by the attester and the name of the voter;

                            (iii)  the attester and the voter sign the approved form in the presence of the presiding officer or the polling official.

          (4B)  A proof of identity document produced by the attester satisfies this subsection if either or both of the following apply:

                     (a)  it is issued by or on behalf of:

                              (i)  the Commonwealth or a State or Territory; or

                             (ii)  an authority of the Commonwealth or of a State or Territory;

                     (b)  it contains the attester’s name and place of living.

          (4C)  The presiding officer or a polling official must not:

                     (a)  make a copy (including an electronic copy) of a proof of identity document produced by a person under this section; or

                     (b)  electronically scan a proof of identity document produced by a person under this section; or

                     (c)  make a record (including an electronic record) of:

                              (i)  the kind of proof of identity document produced by a person under this section; or

                             (ii)  any information contained in a proof of identity document produced by a person under this section; or

                     (d)  retain a proof of identity document produced by a person under this section.

          (4D)  The presiding officer or a polling official may, at the request of the attester, complete (but not sign) the whole or a part of the approved form mentioned in subparagraph (4A)(b)(ii) for the attester. By doing so, the officer or official does not make a record of information covered by subparagraph (4C)(c)(i) or (ii).

Note:          Section 336 deals with signing an approved form.

15  Paragraphs 229(5)(a) and (b)

Repeal the paragraphs, substitute:

                     (a)  any of the following apply:

                              (i)  a request made of the person under paragraph (1)(a) is not satisfied in accordance with subsection (4A);

                             (ii)  the person refuses to answer fully any question the person is asked under subsection (2);

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

                     (b)  either:

                              (i)  if the presiding officer made the request under paragraph (1)(a)—the presiding officer is not reasonably satisfied of the identity of the person; or

                             (ii)  if a polling official made the request under paragraph (1)(a)—the presiding officer or the polling official is not reasonably satisfied of the identity of the person.

16  At the end of section 229 (after the note)

Add:

             (6)  If:

                     (a)  paragraph (5)(a) or (b) applies in relation to the person; and

                     (b)  the person is not claiming to vote as an absent voter;

the presiding officer or the polling official must inform the person that the person may cast a provisional vote in accordance with section 235.

17  Paragraph 231(1)(a)

Omit “the person’s answers to questions put to the person show that he or she is entitled to vote”, substitute “neither paragraph 229(5)(a) nor (b) applies in relation to the person”.

18  At the end of subsection 231(1)

Add:

Note:          Section 235 deals with provisional votes.

19  Paragraph 235(1)(c)

Repeal the paragraph, substitute:

                     (c)  paragraph 229(5)(a) or (b) applies in relation to the person and the person is not claiming to vote as an absent voter; or

20  Application provision

The amendments of the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918 made by this Schedule apply in relation to elections the writs for which are issued on or after the commencement of this item.

Referendum (Machinery Provisions) Act 1984

21  Subsection 3(1)

Insert:

proof of identity document has the meaning given by section 3AA.

22  After section 3

Insert:

3AA  Definition of proof of identity document

                   A proof of identity document is any of the following (including any of the following in electronic form):

                     (a)  a current driver’s licence issued under the law of a State or Territory or a law in force in Norfolk Island;

                     (b)  a current Australian passport;

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

                     (d)  a birth certificate issued by or on behalf of a State or Territory or an authority of a State or Territory;

                     (e)  a notice evidencing a person’s Australian citizenship that is given under section 37 of the Australian Citizenship Act 2007;

                      (f)  a current identification card (however described) issued by or on behalf of:

                              (i)  the Commonwealth or a State or Territory; or

                             (ii)  an authority of the Commonwealth or of a State or Territory;

                     (g)  an account statement or notice (however described) issued by a local government body, utilities provider or carriage service provider in the last 12 months;

                     (h)  either:

                              (i)  a current credit card or debit card issued by an Australian financial institution; or

                             (ii)  an account statement issued by an Australian financial institution in the last 12 months;

                      (i)  a notice of assessment (including an amended assessment) issued in the last 12 months under the Income Tax Assessment Act 1936 in respect of a year of income;

                      (j)  a notice issued by the Electoral Commissioner under the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918 notifying a person of the person’s enrolment;

                     (k)  a document that relates to the affairs of a particular person, that specifies the person’s name and that is issued in the ordinary course of business by:

                              (i)  an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander land council or land trust (however described) established by or under a law of the Commonwealth, a State or a Territory; or

                             (ii)  a body corporate that is prescribed by, or is of a kind prescribed by, regulations made for the purposes of section 59 of the Native Title Act 1993.

Note 1:       For paragraph (f), a medicare card, a Commonwealth seniors health card, a Commonwealth pensioner concession card and a Commonwealth Repatriation Health Card are examples of identification cards.

Note 2:       For paragraph (g), a council rates notice, an electricity account statement, a gas account statement, a water and sewerage account statement, a mobile phone account statement and an internet service account statement are examples of account statements or notices.

23  Section 30 (heading)

Repeal the heading, substitute:

30  Establishing voter’s identity etc.

24  Subsections 30(1) to (4)

Repeal the subsections, substitute:

             (1)  The presiding officer or a polling official must:

                     (a)  subject to subsection (4A), request each person attending before the officer or official, and claiming to vote in a referendum or referendums (as the case requires), to produce to the officer or official a proof of identity document for the person; and

                     (b)  ask questions of the person in order to work out whether the person has voted before in the referendum or referendums (as the case requires).

             (2)  The presiding officer or the polling official may ask questions of the person in order to work out the person’s full name or the person’s place of living, or both.

             (3)  The presiding officer or the polling official may also ask each person claiming to vote as an absent voter in a referendum or referendums (as the case requires) to identify the Division for which the person is enrolled.

             (4)  If the presiding officer or the polling official is not satisfied that the person is a particular person on the certified list of voters, or on an approved list of voters, for the relevant Division, the officer or official may ask the person one or more questions about matters shown on the list for the particular person to establish whether the person is that particular person.

          (4A)  If the voting day for the referendum or referendums (as the case requires) is the same as that fixed for the polling at an election, the presiding officer or a polling official is not required to make a request of a person under paragraph (1)(a) if the officer or official is reasonably satisfied of the identity of the person because of the following in relation to the election:

                     (a)  a request made of the person under paragraph 229(1)(a) of the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918 being satisfied in accordance with subsection 229(4A) of that Act;

                     (b)  answers by the person to questions (if any) asked under section 229 of that Act.

          (4B)  A request made of a person (the voter) under paragraph (1)(a) is satisfied if:

                     (a)  the voter produces to the presiding officer or the polling official a proof of identity document for the voter; or

                     (b)  all of the following apply:

                              (i)  another person (the attester) who is enrolled produces to the presiding officer or the polling official a proof of identity document for the attester that satisfies subsection (4C);

                             (ii)  the attester attests to the voter’s identity by completing the approved form, including by specifying the attester’s full name, enrolled address, the kind of proof of identity document produced by the attester and the name of the voter;

                            (iii)  the attester and the voter sign the approved form in the presence of the presiding officer or the polling official.

          (4C)  A proof of identity document produced by the attester satisfies this subsection if either or both of the following apply:

                     (a)  it is issued by or on behalf of:

                              (i)  the Commonwealth or a State or Territory; or

                             (ii)  an authority of the Commonwealth or of a State or Territory;

                     (b)  it contains the attester’s name and place of living.

          (4D)  The presiding officer or a polling official must not:

                     (a)  make a copy (including an electronic copy) of a proof of identity document produced by a person under this section; or

                     (b)  electronically scan a proof of identity document produced by a person under this section; or

                     (c)  make a record (including an electronic record) of:

                              (i)  the kind of proof of identity document produced by a person under this section; or

                             (ii)  any information contained in a proof of identity document produced by a person under this section; or

                     (d)  retain a proof of identity document produced by a person under this section.

          (4E)  The presiding officer or a polling official may, at the request of the attester, complete (but not sign) the whole or a part of the approved form mentioned in subparagraph (4B)(b)(ii) for the attester. By doing so, the officer or official does not make a record of information covered by subparagraph (4D)(c)(i) or (ii).

Note:          Section 127 deals with signing an approved form.

25  Paragraphs 30(5)(a) and (b)

Repeal the paragraphs, substitute:

                     (a)  any of the following apply:

                              (i)  a request (if any) made of the person under paragraph (1)(a) is not satisfied in accordance with subsection (4B);

                             (ii)  the person refuses to answer fully any question the person is asked under subsection (2);

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

                     (b)  either:

                              (i)  if the presiding officer makes a request of the person under paragraph (1)(a)—the presiding officer is not reasonably satisfied of the identity of the person; or

                             (ii)  if a polling official makes a request of the person under paragraph (1)(a)—the presiding officer or the polling official is not reasonably satisfied of the identity of the person.

26  At the end of section 30 (after the note)

Add:

             (6)  If:

                     (a)  paragraph (5)(a) or (b) applies in relation to the person; and

                     (b)  the person is not claiming to vote as an absent voter;

the presiding officer or the polling official must inform the person that the person may cast a provisional vote in accordance with section 37.

27  Section 31

Repeal the section.

28  Paragraph 33(1)(a)

Omit “the person’s answers to the questions referred to in sections 30 and 31 show that he or she is entitled to vote”, substitute “neither paragraph 30(5)(a) nor (b) applies in relation to the person”.

29  At the end of subsection 33(1)

Add:

Note:          Section 37 deals with provisional votes.

30  Paragraph 37(1)(c)

Repeal the paragraph, substitute:

                     (c)  paragraph 30(5)(a) or (b) applies in relation to the person and the person is not claiming to vote as an absent voter; or

31  At the end of subsection 51(3)

Add:

Note:          Subsection (3) has the effect, for example, that section 30 or 73CI applies in relation to taking votes under this section.

32  After paragraph 73CG(1)(a)

Insert:

                    (aa)  a request (if any) made of the voter under paragraph 73CI(1)(a) is satisfied in accordance with subsection 73CI(5); and

                   (ab)  a voting officer is reasonably satisfied of the identity of the voter; and

33  Paragraph 73CG(2)(b)

Repeal the paragraph, substitute:

                     (a)  any of the following apply:

                              (i)  a request (if any) made of the voter under paragraph 73CI(1)(a) is not satisfied in accordance with subsection 73CI(5);

                             (ii)  the voter refuses to answer fully any question the voter is asked under subsection 73CI(2);

                            (iii)  the voter answers a question under paragraph 73CI(1)(b) so as to indicate that the voter has voted before in the relevant referendum or referendums (as the case requires); or

34  Paragraph 73CG(2)(c)

Repeal the paragraph, substitute:

                     (c)  a voting officer makes a request of the person under paragraph 73CI(1)(a) and the officer is not reasonably satisfied of the identity of the voter; or

35  At the end of section 73CG

Add:

             (3)  If, under this section, the voter is not entitled to vote by pre‑poll ordinary vote, the voting officer must inform the voter that the voter may make a pre‑poll declaration vote in accordance with Division 4.

36  Section 73CI

Repeal the section, substitute:

73CI  Establishing voter’s identity

             (1)  A voting officer must:

                     (a)  subject to subsection (4), request each person attending before the voting officer, and claiming to vote in a referendum or referendums (as the case requires), to produce to the voting officer a proof of identity document for the person; and

                     (b)  ask questions of the person in order to work out whether the person has voted before in the referendum or referendums (as the case requires).

             (2)  The voting officer may ask questions of the person in order to work out the person’s full name or the person’s place of living, or both.

             (3)  If the voting officer is not 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, the officer may ask the person one or more questions about matters shown on the list for the particular person to establish whether the person is that particular person.

             (4)  If the voting day for the referendum or referendums (as the case requires) is the same as that fixed for the polling at an election, a voting officer is not required to make a request of a person under paragraph (1)(a) if the officer is reasonably satisfied of the identity of the person because of the following in relation to the election:

                     (a)  a request made of the person under paragraph 200DI(1)(a) of the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918 being satisfied in accordance with subsection 200DI(4) of that Act;

                     (b)  answers by the person to questions (if any) asked under section 200DI of that Act.

             (5)  A request made of a person (the voter) under paragraph (1)(a) is satisfied if:

                     (a)  the voter produces to the voting officer a proof of identity document for the voter; or

                     (b)  all of the following apply:

                              (i)  another person (the attester) who is enrolled produces to the voting officer a proof of identity document for the attester that satisfies subsection (6);

                             (ii)  the attester attests to the voter’s identity by completing the approved form, including by specifying the attester’s full name, enrolled address, the kind of proof of identity document produced by the attester and the name of the voter;

                            (iii)  the attester and the voter sign the approved form in the presence of the voting officer.

             (6)  A proof of identity document produced by the attester satisfies this subsection if either or both of the following apply:

                     (a)  it is issued by or on behalf of:

                              (i)  the Commonwealth or a State or Territory; or

                             (ii)  an authority of the Commonwealth or of a State or Territory;

                     (b)  it contains the attester’s name and place of living.

             (7)  A voting officer must not:

                     (a)  make a copy (including an electronic copy) of a proof of identity document produced by a person under this section; or

                     (b)  electronically scan a proof of identity document produced by a person under this section; or

                     (c)  make a record (including an electronic record) of:

                              (i)  the kind of proof of identity document produced by a person under this section; or

                             (ii)  any information contained in a proof of identity document produced by a person under this section; or

                     (d)  retain a proof of identity document produced by a person under this section.

             (8)  A voting officer may, at the request of the attester, complete (but not sign) the whole or a part of the approved form mentioned in subparagraph (5)(b)(ii) for the attester. By doing so, the voting officer does not make a record of information covered by subparagraph (7)(c)(i) or (ii).

Note:          Section 127 deals with signing an approved form.

37  At the end of subsection 73CJ(1)

Add:

Note:          Division 4 deals with pre‑poll declaration votes.

38  At the end of subsection 73M(1)

Add “The regulations must not make provision for such a person to be requested or required to produce a proof of identity document for the person.”.

39  At the end of subsection 73M(1A)

Add “The regulations must not make provision for such an elector to be requested or required to produce a proof of identity document for the elector.”.

40  Application provision

The amendments of the Referendum (Machinery Provisions) Act 1984 made by this Schedule apply in relation to referendums the writs for which are issued on or after the commencement of this item.