Page 1686 - Week 05 - Thursday, 8 May 2008

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rationale as to why this provision should be removed. I would like to read that for the benefit of members. It is headed “non-party groups” and reads as follows:

In its 2001 Electoral Act review, the Commission recommended that the provision of nonparty groups should be removed, and that only candidates belonging to registered political parties should be able to be listed in groups on ballot papers—all other candidates should be listed in the “ungrouped” columns on the ballot papers.

This proposal was included in the Electoral Amendment Act 2004; however, a majority of Assembly Members voted to reject this proposal in 2004. The Commission considers that it is worth revisiting this issue in the current review.

The number of non-party groups contesting ACT elections has fluctuated from election to election. In both the 1995 and 1998 elections, there were 2 non-party groups across all electorates. In 2001 there were 5 non-party groups, with 3 in Molonglo and 1 in each of Brindabella and Ginninderra. In 2004 there were again only 2 non-party groups across all electorates—1 in Ginninderra and 1 in Molonglo.

Non-party groups can be formed by 2 or more non-party candidates requesting that their names appear together on the ballot paper. A non-party group is entitled to a column on the ballot paper. This column is identified only by a column letter such as “A”, “B” etc. The position of the non-party group on the ballot paper is determined in the same draw that determines which column a party is to appear in.

Non-party groups were included in the model Hare-Clark system described in the Referendum Options Description Sheet that was published at the time of the referendum to choose the electoral system in 1992. Non-party groups were subsequently included in the Hare-Clark system adopted by the Legislative Assembly in 1994.

The legislative history of non-party groups in the ACT can be traced back to the introduction of registration of political parties by the Commonwealth prior to the 1984 Commonwealth elections. At Senate elections prior to the 1984 election (at the 1983 Senate election, for example), all columns of candidates listed on Senate ballot papers did not carry party affiliations. Consequently all columns of grouped candidates appeared as non-party groups do today. When party affiliations were introduced for the 1984 election, groups standing for Senate elections were given the option to stand either as registered party groups or as non-party groups. The model Hare-Clark electoral system proposed for the ACT in 1992 essentially followed the Senate ballot paper layout, insofar as groups of candidates were concerned.

The Commission considers—

I emphasise that it was the commission—

that it is appropriate to review the provision of the opportunity for candidates to be listed on ballot papers in non-party groups.

In its original conception, a non-party group was a collection of like-minded candidates campaigning on a common platform. Before registration of political

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