Home - Claire Moore - Labor Senator for Queensland

BILLS - Commonwealth Electoral Amendment Bill 2016 - In Committee

Senator MOORE (Queensland) (22:25): Minister, you may remember that much earlier in this debate I was talking about the education campaign-not in the same way as Senator Wong was but more, rather, about the process surrounding the education campaign. You have given us evidence this evening that the Australian Electoral Commission will be conducting a campaign and that, for financial reasons, they will be outsourcing that, which is why we cannot get details-for commercial-in-confidence reasons. I have also raised concerns in my previous contributions about the issue of these electoral changes going through at a time when there is a strong possibility, or probability, of an election being held very soon.

I am trying to find out whether the education campaign will be purely about the changes and how they will operate, encouraging people to vote, getting on the roll and all the normal stuff the AEC covers. Or will there also be a political message in the campaign as well, along the lines of what you have been repeating in your various contributions: 'These changes are going to save your vote', 'This is going to be a major change for democracy', 'Our government has protected your choice', and all that sort of stuff? I am trying to find out, as I have been throughout this process, how the community is going to be brought onside, how we are going to get them involved and how they will know about the changes. Even with just your first amendment, the explanation you read into the record is not a simple message.

Senator Cormann interjecting-

Senator MOORE: I am not claiming the current process is simple either. I have never claimed that. But, with the message that is going to have to go out, will there be a clear electoral process message completely separate from any political message along the lines of: 'Your government has delivered your vote in a more democratic way'? The reason I am asking that is clear, but there is also, as I have said all the way through, the issue of having such an electoral change so close to an election. My point, all the way through, has been that I would have preferred the changes to the electoral system to have been made well outside an election period. Seemingly, however, that is not going to be the case. I think you should have picked up the drift of my question. I would just like to get some detail on those issues.