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ELECTORAL (AMENDMENT) BILL 1995
MR HUMPHRIES (Attorney-General) (10.45): Mr Speaker, I present the Electoral (Amendment) Bill 1995, together with its explanatory memorandum.
Title read by Clerk.
MR HUMPHRIES: I move:
That this Bill be agreed to in principle.
Mr Speaker, this is a very important piece of legislation which I believe will properly bring our ACT electoral system into line with the model on which it is based. The Electoral (Amendment) Bill provides for the prohibition of canvassing for votes and dissemination of electoral matter within 100 metres of a polling place during polling times. As members will be aware, the ACT's Hare-Clark electoral system, including the Robson rotation method of printing candidates' names, is modelled on the Tasmanian system. In Tasmania, canvassing for votes is prohibited within 100 metres of polling places. This, in addition to the use of Robson rotation, is implemented with the intention of reducing the influence of party machines on election and referendum outcomes.
The proposed amendments to the current ACT electoral legislation aim similarly to transfer from party machines to the voters, where it properly belongs, the power to select candidates. Additional advantages to flow from these amendments would include a reduction in wastage of paper used in how-to-vote cards. It has been estimated, for example, that the ACT printed something in the order of one million how-to-vote cards in the early part of this year for the ACT and Federal elections. I would suggest, Mr Speaker, that that was a great waste of valuable resources. Advantages also include a possible reduction in campaign costs for parties and candidates, a reduction in the incidence of complaints lodged about campaign literature, removing the advantage currently enjoyed by those parties and candidates with the resources to print and distribute material widely on polling day, and removing a source of irritation to voters entering polling places. These proposed amendments will ensure that the ACT's Hare-Clark electoral system will achieve its full potential as a system intended to put power in the hands of voters, not party machines. Mr Speaker, I commend this Bill to the Assembly.
Debate (on motion by Ms Follett) adjourned.