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ACT Electoral Legislation

Updated 26 Sep 2014

Links to ACT Electoral Legislation

The following links to current ACT electoral legislation are through the ACT Legislation Register:

The ACT's electoral legislation is enacted by the ACT Legislative Assembly under the Australian Capital Territory (Self-Government) Act 1988, which is a Commonwealth Act. The following is a link through ComLaw, which is the legal information retrieval system owned by the Australian Attorney General's Department:

Electoral amendment bills before the ACT Legislative Assembly

There are no electoral amendment bills currently before the ACT Legislative Assembly.

Changes made to ACT electoral legislation since 2001

Changes made to ACT electoral legislation in the eighth assembly

On 5 August 2014 the ACT Legislative Assembly voted to increase the size of the Assembly to 25 Members from the 2016 election, consisting of 5 electorates each returning 5 Members. This will be the first increase in the size of the Assembly, which has consisted of 17 Members since its establishment in 1989.

The Assembly passed two enactments on 5 August 2014 to give effect to this increase in the size of the Assembly. The Australian Capital Territory (Legislative Assembly) Act 2014 provides that the Legislative Assembly will consist of 25 Members to be elected at the next general election held after commencement of the Act. The next ACT election is scheduled to be held on 15 October 2016. This Act was supported unanimously by all 17 Members of the Assembly.

The Electoral Amendment Act 2014 amends the Electoral Act 1992 to provide that the ACT must be divided into 5 electorates, with 5 members to be elected from each electorate. This Act also makes consequential amendments to the Electoral Act to remove references to 7 member electorates. This Act was supported by 16 of the 17 Members of the Assembly, with support from all ACT Labor and Canberra Liberals MLAs, and with The ACT Greens MLA Mr Shane Rattenbury voting against.

The Officers of the Assembly Legislation Amendment Act 2013 was passed by the ACT Legislative Assembly on 24 October 2013. This Act amends the Electoral Act 1992 and other machinery of government legislation to establish the Members of the ACT Electoral Commission as Officers of the Assembly. It also makes amendments to relevant legislation to establish the ACT Auditor-General and the ACT Ombudsman as Officers of the Assembly. This Act commenced on 1 July 2014.

The Statute Law Amendment Act 2013 (No 2) was passed by the ACT Legislative Assembly on 29 October 2013. This Act updated two sections and the Dictionary in the Electoral Act 1992 to make technical amendments to update language in line with current legislative drafting practice.

Changes made to ACT electoral legislation in the seventh assembly

The Electoral Amendment Act 2012 was passed by the ACT Legislative Assembly on 10 May 2012. The Act gives partial effect to the ACT Government Response to the Standing Committee on Justice and Community Safety’s report, A Review of Campaign Financing Laws in the ACT. The Act provides for a range of amendments to the election funding and disclosure provisions in the Electoral Act 1992, including: 

  • Limits on gifts to political entities;
  • Prohibition on donations from anyone other than ACT electors for ACT election purposes; 
  • More frequent disclosure of gifts received by parties and non-party candidates;
  • Limits on ACT electoral expenditure by parties, non-party candidates and third-party campaigners;
  • An increase in the rate of election public funding paid to parties and candidates; and
  • Providing funding for administrative expenditure incurred by political entities. 

These changes came into effect on 1 July 2012.

The Electoral Legislation Amendment Act 2012 was passed by the ACT Legislative Assembly on 16 February 2012. The Act came into effect on 29 February 2012 after official notification in the ACT's Legislation Register.

The changes made by the Amendment Act include:

  • Lowering the age of entitlement to provisionally enrol to vote from 17 years old to 16 years old, to bring the ACT into line with recent changes to Commonwealth entitlements (the requirement that an elector be 18 years old before they can vote is not affected);
  • Providing for the return of a candidate’s deposit to the person who paid it, or to a person authorised in writing by the person who paid it;
  • Providing that the certified list of electors used in polling places contain the year of birth and gender of each elector, to assist in correctly identifying electors as they vote, and providing that the extract of the certified list of electors provided to candidates will not contain the year of birth and gender of electors in order to protect their privacy;
  • Allowing the Electoral Commissioner to provide the extract of the certified list of electors to candidates in electronic form on request (previously only printed copies were provided);
  • Removing the requirement for a person to sign as witness when a voter is casting a postal vote; and
  • Providing flexibility to the Electoral Commissioner as to where the word “declaration” is to be printed in relation to the words “ballot paper” on declaration ballot papers.

The Amendment Act also made consequential amendments to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Elected Body Act 2008, which applies various provisions of the Electoral Act to the conduct of elections for the Elected Body. 

The Statute Law Amendment Act 2011 (No 3) was passed by the ACT Legislative Assembly on 17 November 2011. The Act came into effect on 12 December 2011 after official notification in the ACT's Legislation Register.

This Act updated two sections in the Electoral Act 1992 to make technical amendments to update language in line with current legislative drafting practice.

The Statute Law Amendment Act 2011 (No 2) was passed by the ACT Legislative Assembly on 18 August 2011. The Act came into effect on 21 September 2011 after official notification in the ACT's Legislation Register.

This Act updated various sections in the Electoral Act 1992 to make a range of technical amendments, including amendments to update language in line with current legislative drafting practice, and amendments resulting from recent changes to the Legislation Act 2001.

The Administrative (One ACT Public Service Miscellaneous Amendments) Act 2011 was passed by the ACT Legislative Assembly on 23 June 2011. The Act came into effect on 1 July 2011 after official notification in the ACT's Legislation Register.

This Act updated various sections in the Electoral Act 1992 to replace references to 'chief executive' with references to 'director-general' as a consequence of the changes made to the ACT Public Service legislation.

The Liquor (Consequential Amendments) Act 2010 was passed by the ACT Legislative Assembly on 28 October 2010. The Act came into effect on 9 November 2010 after official notification in the ACT's Legislation Register.

This Act updated section 232 of the Electoral Act 1992 to replace a reference to the Liquor Act 1975 with a reference to the Liquor Act 2010, in relation to details of amounts received to be included in annual returns submitted by associated entities under section 231B of the Electoral Act.

The Surveyors Amendment Act 2010 was passed by the ACT Legislative Assembly on 23 February 2010. The Act came into effect on 3 March 2010 after official notification in the ACT's Legislation Register.

This Act made consequential amendments to the redistribution provisions of the Electoral Act to change references to "chief surveyor to "surveyor-general".

Changes made to ACT electoral legislation in the sixth assembly

The ACT Civil and Administrative Tribunal Legislation Amendment Act 2008 (No 2) was passed by the ACT Legislative Assembly on 20 August 2008. Amendments made by this Act to the Electoral Act came into effect on 2 February 2009 after official notification in the ACT's Legislation Register.

This Act made consequential amendments to provisions of the Electoral Act related to the review of decisions, as a consequence of the establishment of the ACT Civil and Administrative Tribunal.

The Electoral Legislation Amendment Act 2008 was passed by the ACT Legislative Assembly on 8 May 2008. The Act came into effect on 21 May 2008 after official notification in the ACT's Legislation Register.

The changes made by the Amendment Act include:

  • Removing the provision for non-party groups to be listed on ballot papers;
  • Reducing all the thresholds for disclosure of political donations and expenditure to $1000 from 1 July 2008, to bring the ACT disclosure scheme into line with proposed changes to the Commonwealth disclosure scheme;
  • Allowing electors to apply for postal votes by phone, email, internet, fax or post, without the need for a signature or a witness;
  • Providing that an elector is not eligible to apply for a postal vote if they are able to attend at a pre-poll voting centre in the ACT before polling day;
  • Simplifying the requirements for authorisation of published electoral material (see factsheet);
  • Extending the right to enrol and vote to all ACT prisoners otherwise entitled to enrol (before this change, prisoners under sentence for 3 years or more were not eligible to enrol or vote for ACT elections);
  • Providing that an application for registration of a political party that includes the name of a person in the party’s name must include a statement signed by that person indicating the person's consent to the party name;
  • Providing that it is an offence to take a photo of a person’s marked ballot paper so as to violate the secrecy of the ballot; and
  • A range of other more minor amendments.

The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Elected Body Act 2008 was passed by the ACT Legislative Assembly on 6 May 2008. The Act came into effect on 15 May 2008 after official notification in the ACT's Legislation Register.

The main purpose of this Act is to establish the ACT Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Elected Body. Its goal is to ensure maximum participation by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People in the ACT in the formulation, co-ordination and implementation of government policies that affect them. The ACT Electoral Commission is responsible for the conduct of elections for the Elected Body. For more information on this election, see the 2008 ACT Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Elected Body Election page.

Changes made to ACT electoral legislation in the fifth assembly

The Electoral Amendment Bill 2003 was passed with amendments by the ACT Legislative Assembly on Saturday 15 May 2004. This Bill was introduced into the Assembly by the Attorney-General, Jon Stanhope MLA, on 8 May 2003. The provisions in this Bill are based on recommendations made in the report, The 2001 ACT Legislative Assembly Election: Review of the Electoral Act 1992 (pdf 1623 kb). These changes came into effect on 22 May 2004 when officially notified in the ACT's Legislation Register.

The changes from the Bill passed by the Legislative Assembly include:

  • Requiring applications to register a party or to change a party's registered name or abbreviation to be lodged by 30 June in an election year;
  • Requiring that parties have 100 members at the time that an application is lodged to register the party;
  • Changes to postal voting procedures;
  • Preventing the Electoral Commissioner from taking part in the review by the Electoral Commission of a decision not to conduct a recount of ballot papers; and
  • Bringing all the thresholds for disclosure of political donations and expenditure up to $1500, to remove inconsistencies in the current disclosure scheme.

The amendments made to the Bill and passed by the Assembly:

  • Retain non-party groups in the Electoral Act;
  • Remove from the Electoral Act all references to the ability of independent MLAs to register ballot groups; and
  • Provide that it will be an offence to induce a person to complete a postal vote application form and return it to an address other than that authorised by the Electoral Commissioner.

The Electoral Amendment Regulations 2004 (No 1) were notified under the Legislation Act 2001 on 16 February 2004. These amendments to the Electoral Regulation 1993 were intended to provide that publications of ACT government agencies that contained the "building our city, building our community" logo would not be required to include an electoral authorisation statement if the publications included electoral matter. On Thursday 11 March 2004 the ACT Legislative Assembly passed a resolution that the Electoral Amendment Regulations 2004 (No 1) be disallowed. The amendment regulations were taken to be repealed on Thursday 18 March 2004 because of the resolution.

The Electoral Amendment Bill 2003 (No 2) was introduced into the Assembly by the Attorney-General, Jon Stanhope MLA, on 20 November 2003 and was passed as the Electoral Amendment Act 2003 in the Assembly on 27 November 2003. This legislation extends the term of office for Members of the Legislative Assembly from three years to four years, starting from the 2004 election. This change follows a recommendation from the ACT Legislative Assembly's Standing Committee on Legal Affairs, to which the ACT Electoral Commission made a submission.

The Attorney-General, Jon Stanhope, introduced the Electoral Amendment Bill 2002 (No 2) on 29 August 2002. The Bill was passed as the Electoral Amendment Act 2002 in the Assembly on 24 September 2002. This legislation deferred the start of the next redistribution of electoral boundaries until after 30 April 2003.

Changes made to ACT electoral legislation in the fourth assembly

The following Government bills were tabled in the Assembly on 29 March 2001. These bills were passed, with amendments, on 15 June 2001. This legislation made a number of changes, including increasing the number of Robson rotations and changing enrolment, nomination, party registration and disclosure provisions.

Electoral Amendment Bill 2001

Electoral Amendment Bill 2001 (No 2)

Electoral (Entrenched Provisions) Amendment Bill 2001

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