Second Reading

Resumed from 9 September.

Comments and speeches by various members

HON AARON STONEHOUSE (South Metropolitan) [3.45 pm] — without notice: I move —

(1)  That the Electoral Amendment Bill 2020 is discharged and referred to the Standing Committee on Legislation for consideration and report by no later than 9 October 2020.

(2)  The committee has the power to inquire into and report on the policy of the bill.

Comments and speeches by various members

HON ALISON XAMON (North Metropolitan) [3.50 pm]: I indicate that I am not quite sure how to vote on this motion. I would have appreciated some more notice of it, so that I could have canvassed this issue with my colleagues. I have not yet had the opportunity to give my contribution to the second reading debate, but in order to allay any suspense, the Greens are inclined to support the Electoral Amendment Bill 2020. Certainly, any referral that we might be part of will in no way be indicative of our opposition to the legislation itself.

I listened intently to the contribution by Hon Simon O’Brien yesterday, when he reiterated the precedent within this house of government electoral reform bills involving extensive consultation with parties. I note that in this instance, certainly my party was not consulted. I understand from hearing the contributions of other parties that they were not consulted either. Obviously, that precedent has caused a significant level of disquiet. I have some questions. Firstly, is the proposed time frame simply too short to enable anything meaningful? If it is, it really begs the question of why we would do that. I understand that the minister has already given his contribution so he is not in a position to reply, which I am disappointed about. However, I ask: in terms of the implementation of the elements of this bill, would a delay of even a month pose a problem in terms of having an impact on the next election, should the bill even be successful in passing the second reading stage and, ultimately, the third reading stage? Members would know that the Greens tend to err on the side of referring bills to committees for further investigation, particularly when there is not necessarily going to be a problem with delay around implementation. I do not know whether anybody in government will be able to shed any light on that and say whether a delay of a month or so would pose a problem in terms of this legislation being able to apply to the next election. I would appreciate that advice. The other bit of advice I am missing is whether this is something that the Standing Committee on Legislation can even handle within its existing workload, because I do not know. A very short time frame has been proposed.

Comments and speeches by various members

Amendment to Motion

Hon SIMON O’BRIEN: I move —

To delete “9 October” and substitute —

12 November

In so moving, I also indicate that the Liberal Party will support a referral motion in those terms.

HON ALISON XAMON (North Metropolitan) [4.10 pm]: Although I have already indicated concern that a reporting date of 9 October would create a very short and relatively impractical time in which to consider such a bill, I am also concerned that making it 12 November would mean that, should the bill ultimately be successful in its passage through this chamber, it would be too late for it to be implemented in time for the next election. That may serve the purposes of people who, for a range of reasons, are opposed to this legislation, but for those people who support this legislation, that would be a considerable concern. I thought I should express my concerns about that. Indeed, it highlights how disappointing it is that this legislation has come to us so late in the fortieth Parliament and how advantageous it would have been to have seen it long before now.

HON NICK GOIRAN (South Metropolitan) [4.11 pm]: I want to express very briefly my gratitude to Hon Simon O’Brien. I rushed down from upstairs, where I was dealing with the Work Health and Safety Bill 2019, and was somewhat concerned that the reporting date would be 9 October. I think the reporting date being 12 November absolutely addresses my concern. I thank him for it.


Amendment put and a division taken, the Acting President (Hon Matthew Swinbourn) casting his vote with the noes, with the following result —

Ayes (15)

Noes (14)

Amendment (deletion of words) thus passed.

Debate interrupted, pursuant to standing orders.


Portfolio Category: 
Parliamentary Type: