The Queensland government is considering changes to elections, including banning how-to-vote cards outside polling areas to stop voters being harassed.
Queensland voters could be spared being inundated with how-to-vote cards outside polling booths as the state government cracks down on election day bullying.
Queensland electoral commissioner Walter van der Merwe has recommended changes in a report tabled in parliament on Thursday, after February’s controversial Redcliffe by-election.
That poll sparked complaints from voters and Premier Campbell Newman, who was abused outside a polling booth along with his wife Lisa.
The changes include tighter regulations on how-to-vote cards and the behaviour of canvassers. The government backs them, but Attorney-General Jarrod Bleijie has gone a step further, considering banning how-to-vote cards outside polling areas to prevent voters being harassed.
“What we’re actually thinking about doing is regulating them so they might be displayed in polling stations,” Mr Bleijie said.
The move would put Queensland in line with Tasmania, which has some of the country’s most restrictive rules surrounding election day material.
Opposition Leader Annastacia Palaszczuk has called the idea “alarming and concerning”, while Labor’s state secretary Anthony Chisholm said the report’s 121 submissions shouldn’t be relied upon.
“It’s very dangerous to make recommendations that will affect the election right across the state based on 121 submissions out of one election,” he said.
Mr van der Merwe is asking the government to consider making it an offence for someone to obstruct or hinder a person entering or approaching a polling booth.
He also wants to restrict the amount of election material on display during polling day, the use of loudspeakers and cut the number of scrutineers at voting booths.
Attorney-General Jarrod Bleijie said while the government supported the changes, he would listen to community feedback before including them in electoral reforms.
“I take the view that people want to go in, they want to vote, they don’t want to be harassed by people,” Mr Bleijie said.
The Redcliffe by-election was sparked by the resignation of disgraced MP Scott Driscoll.