Legislation to amend the State’s electoral laws has been passed by Parliament.
Parliamentary and Electoral Affairs Minister Doug Shave said the Electoral Amendment Bill 2000 would improve the efficiency and administration of electoral matters, maintain the transparency of the electoral process, and keep pace with changes in lifestyle.
The legislation is based on recommendations of the WA Electoral Commission.
“An important section of the bill establishes a registration process for political parties In Western Australia,” Mr Shave said.
“The registration system will enable groups wanting to form political parties to be assessed for registration well before an election is announced.
“At present, only the name on the ballot paper requires Electoral Commission approval and that can only be done after an election is called. This makes it difficult for parties to plan and implement their campaigns.
“The registration system will give parties greater participation and a stronger presence in the electoral process. It will not have any effect on the rights of people who want to stand for election as independents.”
Other amendments update parts of the Electoral Act and eliminate provisions that are no longer relevant.
Registered parties will now be able to nominate candidates centrally rather than candidates having to nominate with returning officers for each electoral district.
Absentee voting will be made easier by equipping metropolitan polling places which issue large numbers of absentee vote forms with copies of all electoral rolls.
“This means people can vote outside their electorate without having to fill in a absent vote declaration. Their votes will also be counted on election night, not the following week as at present, meaning a faster vote count,” Mr Shave said.
Mr Shave said the changes would be in place in time for the next State Election.
Dr K W Evans Electoral Commissioner 9214 0403
John Clune Minister’s Office 9213 6500