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ELECTORAL AND REFERENDUM AMENDMENT REGULATIONS 2007 (NO. 4) (SLI NO 271 OF 2007)
Select Legislative Instrument 2007 No. 271
Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918
Referendum (Machinery Provisions) Act 1984
Electoral and Referendum Amendment Regulations 2007 (No. 4)
Section 395 of the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918 (the Electoral Act) provides, in part, that the Governor-General may make regulations, not inconsistent with that Act, prescribing matters which by that Act are required or permitted to be prescribed, or necessary or convenient to be prescribed for giving effect to that Act.
In addition, section 144 of the Referendum (Machinery Provisions) Act 1984 (the Referendum Act) provides, in part, that the Governor-General may make 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.
The purpose of the Regulations is to prescribe the Australian Commission for Law Enforcement Integrity, and Medicare Australia, as new prescribed authorities that may be given electoral roll information along with the purposes for which that information may be used. The Regulations also prescribe a new permitted purpose for which the Department of Defence may use roll information. The Regulations also make a number of technical amendments to the Electoral and Referendum Regulations 1940 (the Principal Regulations).
Item 4 of the table in subsection 90B(4) of the Electoral Act provides that a prescribed authority may be given any information on the electoral roll if authorised by the regulations. Regulations 5A, 7, 8 and Schedule 1 to the Principal Regulations operate to permit the provision of electoral roll information to specified Commonwealth agencies for specified purposes. There are currently 22 Commonwealth agencies and authorities specified in Schedule 1.
Details of the Regulations are set out in the Attachment.
The Regulations commence on the day after registration on the Federal Register of Legislative Instruments.
The Australian Commission for Law Enforcement Integrity, Medicare Australia and the Department of Defence were consulted on the proposed regulations.
Details of the Electoral and Referendum Amendment Regulations 2007 (No. 4)
Regulation 1 – Name of Regulations
This regulation provides that the title of the Regulations is the Electoral and Referendum Amendment Regulations 2007 (No. 4).
Regulation 2 – Commencement
This regulation provides that the Regulations commence on the day after registration.
Regulation 3 – Amendment of Electoral and Referendum Regulations 1940
This regulation provides that the Electoral and Referendum Regulations 1940 (the Principal Regulations) are amended as set out in Schedule 1.
Schedule 1 – Amendments
Item  – Paragraph 6(2)(a)
Regulation 6 provides for the form of the electoral rolls. Subregulation 6(2) provides that where the roll is prepared jointly between the Commonwealth and a state or territory, and the person is not enrolled as a Commonwealth elector, that person’s name must be preceded in the roll by a circle.
Paragraph 6(2)(a) refers to section 32 of the Electoral Act as providing for the joint electoral roll arrangements between the Commonwealth and the states and territories. However, subsection 84(1) of the Electoral Act now provides for the joint electoral roll arrangements between the Governor-General and the Governor of a State or the Chief Minister of the Northern Territory or the Australian Capital Territory. This item would substitute the reference to section 32 of the Electoral Act to subsection 84(1) of the Electoral Act.
Item  – Subregulation 7(1)
This item corrects an incorrect reference to the name of a company prescribed in items 2 and 3 of the table in subregulation 7(1). The correct name of the company is ‘Perceptive Communication Pty Ltd’ rather than ‘Perceptive Communications Pty Ltd’.
Item  – Regulation 11
This item repeals regulation 11. Before mid-2004, the electoral roll was available for sale. Amendments made to the Electoral Act in 2004 removed the ability to sell the electoral roll. It was not apparent at the time that certain financial services companies used the electoral roll to facilitate companies meeting their obligations under the Financial Transactions Reports Act 1988 (FTR Act). Accordingly, regulation 11 was subsequently inserted into the Principal Regulations to allow companies to still use the electoral roll to meet FTR Act obligations.
In June 2006, the Electoral and Referendum Amendment (Electoral Integrity and Other Measures) Act 2006 amended the Electoral Act to insert item 5 into the table in subsection 90B(4). This item provides for the provision of roll information for the purposes of the FTR Act. Following this amendment to the Electoral Act, regulation 11 has become redundant.
Item  – Schedule 1, after item 1
The Law Enforcement Integrity Commissioner Act 2006 (LEIC Act) commenced operation on 30 December 2006. The LEIC Act established a new office of Integrity Commissioner, supported by a statutory agency, the Australian Commissioner for Law Enforcement Integrity (ACLEI).
The Integrity Commissioner, supported by ACLEI, is responsible for preventing, detecting and investigating serious and systemic corruption issues in the Australian Federal Police and the Australian Crime Commission. Other Australian Government agencies with law enforcement functions can be prescribed by regulation as coming within the jurisdiction of ACLEI. Section 15 of the LEIC Act provides for the functions of the Integrity Commissioner.
This item specifies the Australian Commission for Law Enforcement Integrity as a Commonwealth agency that may be provided with electoral roll information and also specifies the purposes for which this information may be used. The purposes reflect the functions of the Integrity Commissioner as set out in section 15 of the LEIC Act with the additional purpose of security vetting of employees or potential employees.
Item  – Schedule 1, item 14
The Department of Defence (Defence) may already be given roll information for the purpose of security vetting of employees or potential employees. Following the provision of further information on the investigative bodies within Defence, the proposed item specifies a new purpose for which Defence may use electoral roll information. The new purpose is generally concerned with identifying or locating an individual suspected of fraud or another criminal offence under laws administered by Defence or connected with the defence of Australia or the operations or activities of Defence.
Item  – Schedule 1, item 19, column 2
The Department of Immigration and Multicultural and Indigenous Affairs is currently specified at item 19 of the table in Schedule 1. As the Department has changed its name, this item now specifies the correct name of the Department of Immigration and Citizenship.
Item  – Schedule 1, after item 22
Section 7 of the Medicare Australia Act 1973 provides that the Chief Executive Officer of Medicare Australia is to provide Commonwealth services in accordance with service arrangements. These arrangements may include undertaking compliance, investigation and enforcement activities related to the provision of the services, and recovering overpayments and other amounts due to the Commonwealth in connection with the provision of the services.
This item specifies Medicare Australia as a Commonwealth agency that may be provided with electoral roll information and also specifies the purposes for which this information may be used. The purposes for which the information may be used reflect the functions of the Chief Executive Officer noted above.