Thursday, 17 March 2016
Commonwealth Electoral Amendment Bill 2016; In Committee
After our previous conversation, and considering we are discussing section 329, I did have another question in relation to that. Maybe I will be lucky enough to get an answer. Minister, since our last conversation, I have been thinking a bit more about section 329. I want to run a scenario by you: let us say a voter is given a how-to-vote card advocating 'vote 1 above the line'. The voter then casts their vote, based on that advice. In the spirit of a minimum of six votes above the line—six is what the vote is supposed to be—that vote should be declared informal. However, due to the savings provision, the vote will be saved and it will be declared formal. It could be argued that the advice on the how-to-vote card could be misleading or deceptive because it has given advice which is not consistent with the instruction on the ballot paper. The question is: should section 329 apply when advice is published directing a voter to vote in a way that is not consistent with the instruction on the ballot paper?