Executive Summary and Recommendations
["The Bill" wherever referred to is the Electoral Amendment (Constitutional Provisions) Bill 1997. "The 1899 Act" wherever referred to is the Constitution Acts Amendment Act 1899. "The Amended Bill" wherever referred to is the Bill as amended in accordance with the Committee’s recommendations in this Report. A copy of the Amended Bill is attached to this Report. The word "Legislature" wherever it appeared in the provisions of the 1899 Act now proposed to be moved to the Electoral Act 1907 has been altered to "Parliament"].
1.1 The Committee is satisfied that certain provisions pertaining to eligibility for election to the Parliament ought to be transferred from the 1899 Act to the Electoral Act 1907. The Committee notes that the purpose in moving all matters going to eligibility for election into the Electoral Act 1907 is to consolidate into that one Act all matters going to eligibility both to vote, and also to stand for election to the Parliament.
1.2 The Committee is of the view that the Bill as originally drafted exceeded the intention to provide in the Electoral Act 1907 a single statutory reference point for both voters and electoral candidates wishing to ascertain their position at law. Much of the Bill was concerned with matters going to disqualification and analogous matters regarding persons who were already elected to the Parliament. The Committee recommends that such matters remain in the 1899 Act, and they do not appear in the Amended Bill.
1.3 Of the matters formerly dealt with in proposed Schedule 4 of the Bill, only Part 1 of that Schedule is now referred to in the Amended Bill. The Committee recommends that the list of offices which formerly constituted Part 1 of Schedule 4 be replaced with a formula identifying the sort of public officials disqualified from membership of the Parliament, that formula being one of reference to such public officials being removable by motion of either or both Houses of Parliament, or by the Governor, acting on the advice of the Executive Council. This formula has now been inserted into the text of proposed section 174D in the Amended Bill.
1.4 The Bill was drafted to accompany a consolidation of the Western Australian Constitution, but that consolidation is not yet ready to proceed. Accordingly, the Committee is of the view that references in the Bill to the consolidated Constitution should be deleted, and replaced with references to the existing legal provisions.
1.5 The Committee recommends that those sections of the 1899 Act replicated in the Electoral Act 1907 be deleted from the 1899 Act. The Committee also recommends that those provisions left in the 1899 Act be amended consequentially to reflect legislative material which the Committee recommends be moved to the Electoral Act 1907 as proposed in Part 3 of the Amended Bill.
1.6 Scrutiny of the provisions of the Electoral Act 1907 going to eligibility for election to the Parliament led the Committee to the view that the electoral nomination provisions of the Electoral Act 1907 were currently not well expressed, and were capable of improvement. Consequently, the Committee recommends amendments to section 77 of the Electoral Act 1907.