Tasmania Releases Draft Electoral Reform Bills for Public Comment
On 16 February 2021, theinto the review of the Electoral Act (“the Final Report”) was released. In response, the Tasmania Government has released draft legislation in order to consult on the possibility of introducing a political donations disclosure scheme.
The two draft Bills currently open for consultation are:
- the Draft Electoral Disclosure and Funding Bill 2021 (Tas) ('the Draft Electoral Disclosure Bill'); and
- the Draft Electoral Matters (Miscellaneous Amendments) Bill 2021 (Tas) ('the Draft Electoral Matters Bill').
Submissions for the draft Bills can be found on the Tasmanian Department of Justice Website.
Review of the Electoral Act 2004
On 3 May 2018, Tasmanian Premier Will Hodgman announced that the Government would undertake a review into the Electoral Act 2004 (Tas) and other associated election laws. This was in order to determine if the legislation was still relevant in light of changes in technology and social media, and if it was still in line with community expectations.
The Final Report summarised that the Terms of Reference included:
- "Modernising the current Tasmanian Electoral Act, with specific examinations of sections including section 191(1)(b), 196(1) and 198(1)(b);
- Whether state-based disclosure rules should be introduced, and, if so, what they should include; and
- The level of regulation of third parties, including Unions, during election campaigns."
The Final Report made 11 recommendations in total. The Tasmanian Government has accepted in principle, all the recommendations made in the.
Overview of the Draft Legislation
The Draft Electoral Disclosure Bill proposes the implementation of recommendations 1 and 2 of the final report. These recommendations primarily seek to modernise the current electoral legislation. Key changes proposed in this Draft Bill include a new definition of “electoral matter” and changes to the requirements for authorisations of electoral matter.
The Draft Electoral Matters Bill seeks to implement recommendations 3 to 11 of the Final Report. These recommendations relate to matters concerning the potential of having disparate state-based disclosure rules and the potential regulation of third parties during election campaigns.
Comment on the Draft Legislation
Speaking generally on the draft Bills, Tasmanian Minister for Justice Elise Archer said in an August Media Release:
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[Draft] Electoral Disclosure and Funding Bill 2021 (Tas) and supporting materials available from TimeBase's LawOne Service
[Draft] Electoral Matters (Miscellaneous Amendments) Bill 2021 (Tas) and supporting materials available from TimeBase's LawOne Service