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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2000 Week 12 Hansard (6 December) . . Page.. 3767..


MR HARGREAVES (continuing):

If there is any fear that this is going to add to their workload, let us remove that now. Let us see in 12 months time. I suspect that we will only see three or four regulatory impact statements in the next 12 months. I do not suppose it will be that much of an issue. We will be told fairly quickly by the community if they do not feel they are involved in this process. That will be the time to reintroduce this provision. We will do that at the due time.

Amendment agreed to.

Remainder of bill, as amended, agreed to.

Bill, as amended, agreed to.

ELECTORAL AMENDMENT BILL (NO 2) 1999

Debate resumed from 25 August 1999, on motion by Ms Tucker:

That this bill be agreed to in principle.

MR HUMPHRIES (Chief Minister, Minister for Community Affairs, Attorney - General and Treasurer) (3:44): Mr Speaker, the government does not support this bill. It sees the bill, at best, as a misunderstanding and, at worst, an attack on the very principles on which the Hare - Clark electoral system is based. Section 305 of the act prohibits candidates from making how - to - vote material available inside polling booths. Ms Tucker's bill creates an exception by allowing material to be placed on the walls of polling places. This is being done in conjunction with the fact that a ban exists on the distribution of how - to - vote cards outside polling places. That ban is well accepted by the ACT population. In fact, some work done by the Electoral Commission at the time of the last election to assess voters' views about that particular provision showed that it was viewed very favourably by electors.

This bill is an attempt to wind back the concept that voters should have a passage to the polling place and the ballot paper free of proselytising by political parties or candidates. It effectively allows people to tell voters the order in which they want them to cast their vote, the approved party position on the order of candidates.

Having had two elections under the Hare - Clark system, members should be aware by now that our system is a strong electoral system, one of whose strengths is that it gives electors real choice. The strength of the system is that it does not mandate that any particular candidate in any particular party must be elected. In the system, there are no such things as safe seats. You do not have the capacity in the Hare - Clark system to say, "I am assured of election, because I have a safe seat in a nice blue ribbon area." Nobody in this place has that assurance. We all have to work for our seats. Even within party tickets, existing members are competing with new candidates for that party. Much as we all might on occasions wish it was otherwise - we would all personally perhaps wish to have less competition - the fact is that the competition is there.


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