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Electoral Commission Bill has first reading

Hon Simon Power
Minister of Justice


27 October 2009 Media Statement

Bill for new Electoral Commission has first reading

A bill that establishes a new Electoral Commission to provide first class electoral services passed its first reading in Parliament tonight.

The Electoral (Administration) Amendment Bill will establish the independent electoral agency which will be given overarching responsibility for electoral admission.

"The new Electoral Commission will provide improved access to electoral services as well as a more integrated, efficient, and strategic approach to electoral administration," Justice Minister Simon Power said.

Responsibility for electoral administration is currently split between the Chief Electoral Officer, the Electoral Commission, and the Chief Registrar of Electors through the Electoral Enrolment Centre.

"Though this structure is generally effective, it has created some problems, including duplication, increased cost and complexity for people dealing with the three agencies, and disjointed decision-making on electoral matters.

"There has been long-standing support for a better integrated form of electoral administration, and I'm confident the proposal for a single entity will address existing flaws and alleviate the pressure on the current agencies, political parties and candidates, and the public."

The bill will transfer the functions of the Electoral Commission and the Chief Electoral Officer to the new commission on 1 October next year, so it can administer the 2011 general election.

A further bill will transfer the functions of the Chief Registrar of Electors to the new commission on 1 October 2012.

The reform is in two stages to ensure transition to the new commission does not create risk for the administration of the 2011 election.

ENDS

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