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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2011 Week 04 Hansard (Thursday, 7 April 2011) . . Page.. 1525 ..

(3) the amendments proposed to be made by the Electoral (Casual Vacancies) Amendment Bill 2011;

(4) the application of the Proportional Representation (Hare-Clark) Entrenchment Act 1994 to the Electoral (Casual Vacancies) Amendment Bill 2011; and

(5) any other relevant matter.

Members would be aware that last week the government introduced two bills relating to recommendations made by the ACT Electoral Commission as a result of its report on the ACT Legislative Assembly election of 2008. Those two bills deal with a range of matters that the Assembly identified as matters worthy of consideration by this place as a result of its conduct of the 2008 ACT Legislative Assembly election.

The government has indicated that it believes that most of the recommendations made by the Electoral Commission should be agreed to by this Assembly and has introduced bills to that effect. However, I indicated last week that the government believes it is prudent and sensible for matters of this nature to be properly considered by the relevant standing committee of this place prior to any debate occurring on any changes to the operation of the ACT’s electoral laws.

For that reason, I am moving this referral this morning. The referral will allow the committee to inquire into the provisions proposed in both the Electoral Legislation Amendment Bill 2011 and the Electoral (Casual Vacancies) Amendment Bill 2011. It will allow it to have particular regard to the issues arising from the Electoral (Casual Vacancies) Amendment Bill 2011 in relation to the application of the entrenchment provisions under ACT law and it will also allow the committee to look at the report of the Electoral Commission into the 2008 election as a whole.

These matters are always of significant interest, I know, to all parties and members in this place, as well as, obviously, to the broader community. The referral to the relevant standing committee will allow that discussion and that examination to be a detailed one. In particular, I believe it is an important opportunity for members of the community with an interest in these proposals to have their say and to have those matters reported back to the Assembly by the committee.

As I indicated last week, I did consult; I have subsequently consulted with the chair of the standing committee, Mrs Dunne, in relation to this matter. She has indicated to me that she is supportive of the proposal as it has been placed on the notice paper and I would ask members to support this referral.

MRS DUNNE (Ginninderra) (10.43): The Canberra Liberals will be supporting this referral of the two electoral bills to the Standing Committee on Justice and Community Safety. It is unusual, and it has not been past practice, for electoral bills to be referred for inquiry to the appropriate committee, but I think that electoral matters are of the utmost importance in the ACT and there is a very good argument for exposing them to more community discussion than is normally the case here. I think that it is a good practice and I welcome the opportunity.

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