The Joint Standing Committee on Electoral Matters has today announced its inquiry into the conduct of the 2016 federal election.
The Special Minister of State has asked the Committee to conduct an inquiry with the following terms of reference:
That the following matters be referred to the Joint Standing Committee on Electoral Matters for inquiry and report:
1. All aspects of the 2016 Federal election and matters related thereto, and without limiting the scope of the committee’s inquiry, with particular reference to:
a) The application of provisions requiring authorisation of electoral material to all forms of communication to voters;
b) The potential applicability of ‘truth in advertising’ provisions to communication to voters including third-party carriage services;
c) The options available to Parliament to ensure consistent application of disclosure rules to and the regulation of all entities undertaking campaign activities; and,
d) The potential application of new technology to voting, scrutiny and counting, with particular reference to its application to remote voting, ADF personnel on deployment and supporting vision-impaired voters.
2. The extent of donations and contributions from foreign sources, persons, entities and foreign-owned subsidiaries to political parties, associated entities and other third parties and entities undertaking campaign activities, and the options available to Parliament to regulate these.
3. The current donations, contributions, expenditure and disclosure regime, its application and timeliness and alternative approaches available to Parliament.
4. The extent to which fundraising and expenditure by third parties is conducted in concert with registered political parties and the applicability and utilisation of tax deductibility by entities involved in campaign activities.
5. Any matters related to the terms outlined above.
In considering these matters, the Committee is encouraged to consider previous inquiries and reports of past committees, regulatory developments implemented by States and Territories and recent determinations of the High Court with respect to these.
The Committee is requested to provide a report in respect of item la by December 1, 2016, and item 2 by March 3, 2017.
The Chair of the Committee, Senator Linda Reynolds, stated that “this inquiry will provide an important opportunity for interested members of the Australian public to provide feedback on the conduct of the 2016 election.”
Submissions are open until 1 November 2016. Please notify the Committee secretariat if you intend to make a submission.
Further information on the inquiry is available on the Committee website.