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Justice Referendum With General Election

Citizens Initiated Referendum on Justice Issues To Be Held With General Election

Justice Minister, Tony Ryall, has today announced that an indicative referendum on the question of whether there "should be a reform of our justice system placing greater emphasis on the needs of victims, providing restitution and compensation for them and imposing minimum sentences and hard labour for all serious violent offenders" will be held on election day.

"The petition seeking a referendum was promoted by Mr Norm Withers under the Citizens Initiated Referenda Act 1993.

"The Clerk of the House certified that the petition had been signed by at least 10 percent of eligible electors on 7 July 1999, which means that an indicative referendum must be held.

"The Speaker presented the petition to the House of Representatives on 13 July 1999.

"An election day referendum will ensure a higher voter turnout than a stand alone poll. It is also likely to cost as much as $8 million less than a stand alone referendum.

"The process for setting election day as the date for the referendum will involve two steps. This is because it is not legally possible for an Order in Council to appoint election day, per se, as the date of the referendum before the date for the general election has been set.

"The date of 18 December 1999 will therefore be appointed, by Order in Council, as the date for the indicative referendum.

"That date has been chosen as it is the last possible day under the Constitution Act 1986 for the next general election. However, it is very unlikely that the election would be held on that date.

"Accordingly, when Parliament is dissolved and the election is declared, the Order in Council will be revoked and replaced with an Order in Council appointing election day as the date of the referendum," said Mr Ryall.

ENDS

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