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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 10 Hansard (29 August) . . Page.. 2999..


Thursday, 29 August 2002

MR SPEAKER (Mr Berry) took the chair at 10.30 am and asked members to stand in silence and pray or reflect on their responsibilities to the people of the Australian Capital Territory.

Electoral Amendment Bill 2002 (No 2)

Mr Stanhope, pursuant to notice, presented the bill and its explanatory memorandum.

Title read by Clerk.

MR STANHOPE (Chief Minister, Attorney-General, Minister for Health, Minister for Community Affairs and Minister for Women) (10.33): I move:

That this bill be agreed to in principle.

This bill provides for an amendment to the Electoral Act 1992 to defer the start of the next redistribution of electoral boundaries until after 30 April 2003.

Under the Electoral Act as it currently stands, the Electoral Commission is required to begin a redistribution of electoral boundaries as soon as practical after the third Saturday in October 2002. If a redistribution were to commence in October 2002 under the existing Electoral Act provisions, the Electoral Commission would be required to divide the ACT into two electorates each returning five members and one electorate returning seven members. Given the current proposals to increase the size of the Assembly, this bill is proposed to defer the start of the redistribution process until after a decision has been taken on the number of members to be elected in total and on the numbers of members to be elected in each electorate.

The bill would defer the start of the redistribution process until after 30 April 2003. This date is set to give the Electoral Commission time to finalise the redistribution before the end of 2003. With the next election due in October 2004, this is intended to give the public, candidates and parties time to familiarise themselves with any changes to electoral boundaries which may occur.

If a decision is taken to increase the size of the Assembly, a further bill will be needed to make the necessary changes to the Electoral Act to provide for the number of members to be elected in each electorate. If the number of members is not changed, the redistribution can proceed in 2003 without the need for any further changes to the Electoral Act.

Debate (on motion by Mr Stefaniak ) adjourned to the next sitting.


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