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ELECTRONIC TRANSACTIONS AMENDMENT REGULATIONS 2007 (NO. 1) (SLI NO 111 OF 2007)
Select Legislative Instrument 2007 No. 111
Electronic Transactions Act 1999
Electronic Transactions Amendment Regulations 2007 (No. 1)
Section 16 of the Electronic Transactions Act 1999 (the ET Act) provides that the Governor-General may make regulations prescribing matters required or permitted by that Act to be prescribed, or necessary or convenient to be prescribed for carrying out or giving effect to that Act.
The ET Act provides a regulatory framework to facilitate the use of electronic transactions by enabling requirements under Commonwealth law to be met in an electronic form. Section 13, subsection 14(7) and subsection 15(4) of the ET Act provide that regulations may provide exemptions from the operation of the ET Act.
Previously, under item 25 of the table in Schedule 1 to the Electronic Transactions Regulations 2000 (the Principal Regulations), Part XV of the Electoral Act was exempted from subsection 8(1), Division 2 of Part 2 and sections 14 and 15 of the ET Act. This meant that a person could not meet the requirements in Part XV of the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918 (Electoral Act), such as meeting a requirement to provide a signature, in an electronic form.
The purpose of the Regulations is to remove the exemption from the operation of the ET Act in the Principal Regulations that applied to sections 184 and 184A in Part XV of the Electoral Act. The removal of the exemption means that a person may now submit an application for a postal vote, or an application to register as a general postal voter, by faxing or by scanning and emailing the application form to the Australian Electoral Commission (AEC).
The amendments follow recommendations made by the Joint Standing Committee on Electoral Matters (JSCEM) in its Report of the Inquiry into the Conduct of the 2004 Federal Election and Matters Related Thereto. Recommendation 9 relevantly reads:
The Committee recommends that the Electronic Transaction Regulations 2000 be amended to permit electors to submit an application for a postal vote or an application to become a general postal voter, by scanning and e-mailing the appropriate form to the AEC.
Recommendation 11 relevantly reads:
The Committee recommends that the AEC amend the General Postal Voter application form to indicate that the completed form can be returned to the AEC by fax.
In its Response to the Committee’s Report, the Government supported-in-principle Recommendation 9 and supported Recommendation 11.
The Regulations give effect to the Government’s Response to these two recommendations by the JSCEM. As it is intended that a person would only be able to fax or scan and email their completed application forms to the AEC, only sections 184 and 184A would be subject to the operation of the ET Act. The remaining sections of Part XV of the Electoral Act continue to be exempt from the ET Act.
The ET Act does not specify any conditions that need to be satisfied before the power to make the proposed Regulations may be exercised.
The Regulations commence on the day after they are registered.
Consultation in relation to the amendments occurred during the Inquiry conducted by the JSCEM, which held 11 public hearings and received over 200 written submissions.
Authority: Section 16 of
the Electronic Transactions Act 1999