Opinion Number. 254

Subject

ELECTIONS PROCEDURE AFTER REDISTRIBUTION

Key Legislation

COMMONWEALTH ELECTORAL ACTS 1902-1905, ss. 7,9, 21, 25

Date
Client
The Minister for Home Affairs

The Minister for Home Affairs asks to be advised on the question raised in the following minute by the Chief Electoral Officer:

It would appear to be desirable when proclaiming the names and boundaries of the new Divisions, under the distribution schemes adopted by Parliament, to appoint at the same time the Divisional Returning Officers (section 7), the Electoral Registrars (section 9), and the polling places (section 25).

In view, however, of the proviso contained in the second paragraph of section 21,1 submit that the matter be referred to the Attorney-General's Department as one of urgency both as to the appointment of Divisional Returning Officers, Electoral Registrars, and polling places for the new Divisions, and the action to be taken with regard to the Returning Officers, Registrars, and polling places for the old Divisions.

The names for the new Divisions having been decided upon, the proclamation required by section 21 of the Act is now in readiness for submission.

In my opinion, as soon as the redistribution is complete, the old Divisions, and the Rolls for the old Divisions, and the Returning Officers, Registrars, and polling places for the old Divisions, have ceased to exist except for the particular purpose specified in the proviso to section 21 of the Electoral Act.

I also think that, after the redistribution, there is no power to alter the old Rolls, and that in the event of a by-election the Rolls to be used are the Rolls for the old Divisions as existing at the date of the proclamation of the new Divisions.

Upon redistribution, therefore, no action is necessary with regard to the Returning Officers, Registrars, and polling places for the old Divisions; but Returning Officers, Registrars, and polling places for the new Divisions should be appointed as soon as possible.

[Vol. 5, p. 319]