Commonwealth Numbered Regulations - Explanatory Statements

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ELECTORAL AND REFERENDUM AMENDMENT REGULATIONS 2005 (NO. 2) (SLI NO 319 OF 2005)

 

EXPLANATORY STATEMENT

 

Select Legislative Instrument 2005 No. 319

 

Issued by the Authority of the Special Minister of State

 

Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918

 

Referendum (Machinery Provisions) Act 1984

 

Electoral and Referendum Amendment Regulations 2005 (No. 2)

 

Section 395 of the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918 (the Act) provides, in part, that the Governor-General may make regulations not inconsistent with the Act prescribing all matters which by the Act are required or permitted to be prescribed, or which are necessary or convenient to be prescribed for giving effect to the Act.  In addition, section 144 of the Referendum (Machinery Provisions) Act 1984 provides, in part, that the Governor-General may make required regulations, not inconsistent with that Act, prescribing matters required or permitted by that Act to be prescribed, or necessary or convenient to be prescribed for carrying out or giving effect to that Act.

 

Part VI of the Act provides for the maintenance of electoral rolls.  Subsection 90B(4) of the Act provides for access to electoral rolls by particular people and organisations, and any information about the sex, date of birth and occupation of electors, and the circumstances in which it may be provided.  Item 4 of subsection 90B(4) provides that supply of the information is authorised by the provisions of the Electoral and Referendum Regulations 1940 (the Principal Regulations) that support access to and use of the roll information by prescribed authorities.

 

The Regulations amended Schedule 1 to the Principal Regulations, which specifies the prescribed authorities that may be provided with roll information in electronic format and the permitted purposes for their use of the information. 

 

The Regulations amended Schedule 1 to the Principal Regulations to implement changes arising from a review of access by existing prescribed authorities that was undertaken by the Australian Electoral Commission in 2005.  The review found that the permitted purposes for use of information should be amended, added to, removed or replaced, in a number of cases.  These amendments related to changes in the roles or functions of existing prescribed authorities, except in relation to access by the Department of Defence for which a permitted purpose was removed. 

 

The review also found that several existing prescribed authorities that had previously been granted access to roll information in microfiche format and the purposes for which they will use roll information should be added to Schedule 1.  It is proposed that these prescribed authorities will now be supplied with roll information in electronic format.

 

The names of two existing prescribed authorities were changed as one has merged with another Australian Government authority, and a function of the other to which roll access relates has become part of another Australian Government authority. 

 

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The Electoral Commissioner has determined that access to roll information by prescribed authorities is warranted and appropriate and complies with the requirements of the Act and the Information Privacy Principles of the Privacy Act 1988. 

 

The new Schedule 1 updates and maintains the prescribed agencies and the permitted purposes that roll information can be provided to them.

 

Details of the Regulations are in the Attachment.

 

All affected prescribed authorities were consulted in the development of these Regulations.

 

The Regulations are machinery or administrative in nature.

 

The Regulations are a legislative instrument for the purposes of the Legislative Instruments Act 2003.

 

The Regulations commenced on the day after they were registered.


 

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Attachment

 

 

Details of the Electoral and Referendum Amendment Regulations 2005 (No. 2)

 

Regulation 1 provides that these Regulations would be the Electoral and Referendum Amendment Regulations 2005 (No. 2).

 

Regulation 2 provides that the Regulations commenced on the day after they were registered.

 

Regulation 3 provides that Schedule 1 amends the Electoral and Referendum Regulations 1940 (the Principal Regulations).

 

Schedule 1

 

Item [1] of Schedule 1 substitutes a new table in Schedule 1 to the Principal Regulations.

 

The new table in Schedule 1 to the Principal Regulations:

 

        amends, adds, removes or replaces permitted purposes for a number of existing prescribed authorities;

        adds a new Australian Government authority and the purposes for which it would use roll information;

        changes the name of an existing prescribed authority to which the function of a previous prescribed authority has been merged; and

        changes the name of an existing prescribed authority as access to roll information relates to a function that has become part of another Australian Government Authority.

 

For reasons relating to cost, resources and technological change, the Australian

Electoral Commission is gradually phasing out production of microfiche rolls, containing confidential roll information, for prescribed authorities, in favour of electronic format.

 

The details of the substitute table in Schedule 1 to the Principal Regulations are:

 

Item 1 of Schedule 1 to the Principal Regulations adds Australia Post, for investigating postal and criminal offences committed against the Commonwealth under the Australian Postal Corporation Act 1989 and or the Crimes Act 1914.

 

 

 

 

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Item 2 of Schedule 1 to the Principal Regulations replaces Australian Communications Authority (ACA) with Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA), as the functions of the ACA were merged with the Australian Broadcasting Authority to become the ACMA on 1 July 2005.

 

Item 3 of Schedule 1 to the Principal Regulations adds the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, for identifying or locating offenders, suspects or witnesses; and, verifying the identity of individuals for enforcement of the criminal law and of a law imposing a pecuniary penalty in relation to the Trade Practices Act 1974.

 

Item 4 of Schedule 1 to the Principal Regulations replaces the previous permitted purposes for the Australian Crime Commission with purposes that more appropriately reflect its functions; namely, collecting, correlating, analysing and disseminating criminal information and intelligence; undertaking intelligence operations; investigating matters relating to relevant criminal activity; assembling or analysing evidence about offences and suspected offences; conducting criminal and operational investigations to support authorised national security functions; and, security vetting of employees and potential employees.

 

Item 5 (See below)

 

Item 6 of Schedule 1 to the Principal Regulations adds two new purposes for the Australian Federal Police (AFP), namely, potential or actual disaster victim identification and notification of victims’ families; and, security vetting of AFP officers and potential AFP officers.

 

Item 7 (See below)

 

Item 8 of Schedule 1 to the Principal Regulations adds an additional purpose for the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation, namely, security vetting of employees and potential employees.

 

Item 9 (See below)

 

Item 10 of Schedule 1 to the Principal Regulations adds a new Australian Government authority, Australian Transactions Reports and Analysis Centre and the purpose for which it would use roll information, namely, conducting investigations in relation to the enforcement of the criminal law and of a law imposing a pecuniary penalty regarding the Financial Transactions Reports Act 1988.

 

Item 11 of Schedule 1 to the Principal Regulations adds an additional purpose for Centrelink, namely, locating persons who owe a debt to the Commonwealth;

 

Item 12 (See below)


 

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Item 13 of Schedule 1 to the Principal Regulations adds the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry and the purpose for which it would use roll information, namely, identifying individuals suspected of when breaching legislation administered by the Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service.

 

Item 14 of Schedule 1 to the Principal Regulations removes an existing permitted purpose for Department of Defence, namely, identifying debtors in relation to the Department, as use of roll information for this purpose is considered inappropriate, and adds a new purpose namely, security vetting of employees and potential employees.

 

Items 15, 16 and 17 (See below)

 

Item 18 of Schedule 1 to the Principal Regulations replaces Department of Family and Community Services with Department of Human Services, as access to roll information relates to the Child Support Agency, which became a part of the Department of Human Services in October 2004.

 

Item 19 of Schedule 1 to the Principal Regulations amends an existing permitted purpose for the Department of Immigration and Multicultural and Indigenous Affairs to reflect a wider range of Border Control and Compliance Division investigations staff responsibilities.

 

Item 20 of Schedule 1 to the Principal Regulations adds an additional purpose for the Department of Veterans’ Affairs, namely, protection of the public revenue in relation to reviews of entitlement to benefit.

 

Item 21 of Schedule 1 to the Principal Regulations adds the Director of Public Prosecutions and the purpose for which it would use roll information, namely verifying the identity of and or locating persons of interest in relation to property ownership matters conducted under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002.

 

Item 22 of Schedule 1 to the Principal Regulations adds the Insolvency and Trustee Service of Australia and the purpose for which it would use roll information, namely, locating and investigating bankrupts and their associates in relation to obligations under the Bankruptcy Act 1966; conducting criminal investigations in relation to the Bankruptcy Act 1966; and, investigating identity fraud.

 

The details shown at Items 5, 7, 9, 12, 15, 16, and 17 of new Schedule 1 to the Principal Regulations in relation to access by the Australian Customs Service, Australian Securities and Investments Commission, Australian Taxation Office, ComSuper, Department of Education, Science and Training, Department of Employment and Workplace Relations and Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade respectively would not change from those shown in the current Schedule 1.

 

 

 


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