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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2008 Week 05 Hansard (Thursday, 8 May 2008) . . Page.. 1707 ..

Question put:

That clause 14 be agreed to.

The Assembly voted—

Ayes 8

Noes 7

Mr Barr

Mr Gentleman

Mrs Burke

Mr Pratt

Mr Berry

Mr Hargreaves

Mrs Dunne

Mr Smyth

Mr Corbell

Ms Porter

Dr Foskey

Mr Stefaniak

Ms Gallagher

Mr Stanhope

Mr Mulcahy

Question so resolved in the affirmative.

Clause 14 agreed to.

Clauses 15 and 16, by leave, taken together and agreed to.

Clause 17.

DR FOSKEY (Molonglo) (10.26): I move amendment No 2 circulated in my name [see schedule 2 at page 1781]. This amendment seeks to omit proposed new section 136A (1) (a) (ii), the definition of “eligible elector”, on page 7, line 20. It is the Greens’ view that voters should have the right to make a postal vote and this right should be a freely available option. I note that this bill in other ways makes the application for and the lodgement of a postal vote a simpler process, which I commend. The rationale for requiring people to demonstrate that they cannot attend a pre-polling voting centre in order to be entitled to lodge a postal vote is a weak one. I quote from the minister’s speech:

To ensure that the simplification of the postal voting process does not lead to an increase in the number of electors unnecessarily applying for a postal vote, the bill modifies the grounds for applying for a postal vote. An elector will not be eligible to apply for a postal vote if the elector is able to attend a pre-poll voting centre in the ACT before polling day. This change is intended to boost attendance at pre-poll voting centres in preference to postal voting for those electors in the ACT unable to vote on polling day, as electors voting by post are more likely to have their votes rejected on a technicality compared to electors voting in a polling place or pre-poll centre.

In the first instance, some of the technicalities that result in people’s postal votes being rejected are precisely the unnecessarily complex processes that this bill aims to simplify. In other words, after those aspects of this bill are passed, we can expect fewer technicalities that result in people’s postal votes being rejected. And surely that was the intention of making those amendments in the first place.

In the second instance, people making postal votes often include the infirm, travellers, the elderly and people overseas. Of course, they are a little more likely to cast an

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