Page 3279 - Week 11 - Thursday, 22 September 1994

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   Thursday, 22 September 1994


MADAM SPEAKER (Ms McRae) took the chair at 10.30 am and read the prayer.


MS FOLLETT (Chief Minister and Treasurer) (10.31): Madam Speaker, I present the Referendum (Machinery Provisions) Bill 1994.

Title read by Clerk.


That this Bill be agreed to in principle.

Madam Speaker, the Referendum (Machinery Provisions) Bill 1994 completes the package of electoral legislation that the Government has introduced into the Assembly over the past few years. The Bill is intended to provide for general mechanisms for the conduct of referendums required to be held by other laws of the Assembly called referendum laws. The Bill relies on referendum laws to outline the essential details of each referendum, such as the referendum question and the day on which the referendum is to be held. The purpose of the Bill is to provide for default machinery provisions that are to operate to the extent that they are not inconsistent with a referendum law. In this way the Bill will ensure that referendums are conducted in the same way as elections, as far as practicable, and avoids the need for specific referendum laws to address general machinery provisions. The Bill operates by applying the machinery provisions of the Electoral Act 1992, as far as they are relevant to referendums, and by making modifications as appropriate.

Key features of the Bill, which are to operate unless a referendum law provides otherwise, include: Referendums are to be held on the same day as elections for the Assembly; voting is to be compulsory; procedures set out in the Electoral Act 1992 are to be followed as far as practicable, with suitable modifications made as specified in the Bill; scrutineers may be appointed for a referendum; for and against arguments may be supplied by Assembly members and disseminated by the Electoral Commission; persons incurring referendum expenditure will be required to disclose expenditure and donations details; offences set out in the Electoral Act 1992 will apply with suitable modifications; and referendum results will be able to be disputed before the Court of Disputed Elections. I commend the Bill to the Assembly, and I present an explanatory memorandum to the Bill.

Debate (on motion by Mrs Carnell) adjourned.

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