Thursday, 17 March 2016
Commonwealth Electoral Amendment Bill 2016; In Committee
Thank you. In the earlier discussion, when Senator Cormann was responding to Senator Muir's questions in this area, he referred to the fact that the penalty provisions that were in 329A had been repealed. What he did not say on that occasion, but he did just a moment ago, was that the mischief itself was removed from the act. So yes, fine, repeal the penalty provisions if the mischief or the potential mischief has been removed from the act. But that is not the case here. What Senator Carr is attempting to establish, as other senators have as well, is what the mischief is. A questions such as, 'Would it be lawful to encourage a "just vote 1" response from voters?' is around establishing what the mischief would be.
As Senator O'Neill has said before, the minister is skirting around that question. He started, firstly, by saying, 'That's asking for legal advice. You can't do that in this place.' How ridiculous! I do not know where that advice came from. It certainly did not come from the adviser's box. It is a very clear question. It is very relevant and it is very important to the consideration here. Would it be lawful for someone to promote 'just vote 1'? That is your question, is it not, Senator Carr?