9.57 The Issues Paper highlighted a number of broad issues affecting people with disability in relation to voting, including the lack of easily understood information about candidates, voting and preferences; difficulties enrolling; and access to voting (though noting this has improved somewhat with wheelchair accessible polling stations, telephone voting and postal voting).
9.58 In submissions to the Issues Paper, stakeholders raised a range of systemic issues concerning enrolment and voting: for example, the need to ensure the AEC provides accessible information in a variety of formats and does so in a timely way prior to an election. The AEC’s National Disability Strategy includes actions and target outcomes relevant to improving the accessibility of websites and publications, which may go some way to addressing these concerns.
9.59 Stakeholders also suggested that in addition to imposing obligations on the AEC in relation to provision of information, obligations should also be imposed on political parties and that receipt of electoral funding should be conditional upon the provision of accessible information.
9.60 To an extent these issues are broadly relevant to the issue of decision-making assistance and support. While these are important issues in the lives of people with disability, they do not relate directly to individual decision-making, and the ALRC does not intend to make proposals in these areas.
9.61 Finally, there is some inconsistency between jurisdictions with respect to the matters discussed in this chapter. Given this, the ALRC suggests it may be useful for the AEC, and state and territory governments and electoral commissions, to consider ways to increase uniformity and introduce best practice approaches to electoral matters across jurisdictions consistent with ALRC proposals.
Australian Law Reform Commission, Equality, Capacity and Disability in Commonwealth Laws, Issues Paper No 44 (2013) .
See, eg, Public Interest Advocacy Centre, Submission 41; People with Disability Australia and Australian Centre for Disability Law, Submission 90 to the Minister of State, Electoral Reform Green Paper: Strengthening Australia’s Democracy, 2009.
Australian Electoral Commission, National Disability Inclusion Strategy 2012–2020, (February 2013).
See, eg, Public Interest Advocacy Centre, Submission 41. A candidate or Senate group is eligible for election funding if they obtain at least 4% of the first preference vote in the division or the state or territory they contested. Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918 (Cth) ss 294, 297.