19 February 2012
Special Minister of State will today launch the Year of Enrolment – an Australian Electoral Commission campaign to enrol the 1.5 million eligible Australians who are not on the Commonwealth roll.
Major targets will be young people and Indigenous Australians.
“Each month more than 22,000 Australian citizens turn 18,” Mr Gray said. “Based on current estimates, only 36 per cent of 18 year-olds are enrolled to vote.
“Enrolment has declined since about the mid-90s. This decline requires a response from both young Australians and the AEC.
“The challenge, not only for the AEC, but for us all, is to arrest this trend of declining enrolments and engage with the growing number of disenfranchised Australians.”
Mr Gray was speaking before the official launch of the Year of Enrolment by the electoral commission, which is marking the 100th year of enrolment and the 50th year that Indigenous Australians became entitled to vote in federal elections.
A DVD on the history of the Indigenous vote will be released and 25 field staff will be encouraging more Indigenous people to enrol.
The broader campaign for enrolment will include online advertising, a mail-out to Australian households and a special stamp issued later this month by Australia Post.
“Ironically, young people are certainly not reluctant to express their voice in other areas of their life – tweeting, blogging, social media, voting for anything and everything online,” Mr Gray said.“But when it comes to voting for their elected representatives, something is turning them off.”
|John Arthur - 0405 991 261||www.smos.gov.au|