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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2017 Week 14 Hansard (Thursday, 30 November 2017) . . Page.. 5368 ..

The committee did, however, recommend that the Electoral Act be amended to allow the use of electoral material on private property, inside the defined polling area, to remain throughout a polling period. In particular, this is an acknowledgement of the increasing densification of our city and that many residences and businesses currently, and will increasingly, fall within the 100 metre exclusion zone.

The committee addressed issues for voters not present in the ACT on polling day and recommends that steps be taken by the Electoral Commission to address this, as well as accessibility issues for the blind and visually impaired.

One matter that has emerged in recent elections in all jurisdictions is the quite rapid increase in pre-polling. The committee considers, and has recommended, that the Electoral Act be amended to allow a voter to vote at pre-poll without the requirement to declare that they are unable to attend a polling place on polling day. The committee considers this to be a pragmatic change which better reflects polling practices.

Finally, the report addresses the question of whether the Electoral Act may require amendment to allow an increased period between close of nominations and declaration of nominations to address potential challenges.

The committee’s inquiry was wide ranging within its terms of reference. I would like to note the strong community interest and diverse views on the electoral process in Canberra. We have a vibrant and healthy democracy that includes a healthy and well-thought out level of valuable political and civic involvement.

The committee thanks everyone who made submissions. Personally, I would like to thank and note the hard work and dedication of the staff of the Electoral Commission, and Acting Commissioner Ro Spence in particular, for their guidance, as well as Andrew Snedden and Josephine, who provided excellent secretarial support.

I would also like to thank all my fellow committee members who worked in a collegiate way throughout the term of this committee. I commend the report to the Assembly.

MR WALL (Brindabella) (10.38): I begin by echoing Ms Cody’s remarks in offering my thanks to my fellow colleagues on the committee to look into the conduct of last year’s election and other matters. I also thank Hansard who did a great job in minuting the public meetings, and Josephine Brown and Andrew Snedden from the committee secretariat who accompanied us along this journey of reviewing the election and other issues.

On behalf of the opposition I will touch on a few of the recommendations made and flag some additional comments. Recommendation 5 recommends the ACT retain the current minimum voting age of 18. It was clear there was a large difference of opinion both amongst the members on the committee but also within the community on this issue, ranging from we should do it, through to we should not as well as we should but a lot of issues need to be considered that add difficulty to it. The opposition is quite happy that the commonsense approach has prevailed in maintaining 18 as the voting

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