27 July 2012
Special Minister of State Gary Gray today welcomed the commencement of new laws which will target the 1.5 million Australians who are missing from the electoral roll.
Mr Gray said “the Electoral and Referendum Amendment (Maintaining Address) Act 2012 and the Electoral and Referendum Amendment (Protecting Elector Participation) Act 2012 will strengthen a cornerstone of our democratic system, the opportunity to cast a vote in an election.”
“Currently, about one in 10 eligible Australians is not enrolled to vote, and this potentially represents on average 10,000 people in each of the 150 Federal divisions,” said Mr Gray.
“The measures will bring the Commonwealth electoral systems in line with similar measures introduced at a state electoral level in our most populous states - Victoria and New South Wales.
“It is very important to understand that these new laws will not change the grounds on which a person becomes entitled to enrol and vote.
“Australians aged 18 and over are legally required to enrol to vote and keep their address details current on the roll. The new laws simply enable the Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) to write to some eligible persons to enquire why they should not be directly enrolled or have their address directly updated,” said Mr Gray.
Mr Gray said there are many reasons why so many Australians are not enrolled to vote such as:
“The federal legislation also implements recommendations from the Australian Parliament’s Joint Standing Committee on Electoral Matters by reinstating arrangements that were in place prior to the 2007 federal election relating to people who have been removed from the electoral Roll by objection action.
“We need to ensure that all Australians are able to participate to allow us to continue to build our strong and proud Australian democratic tradition” said Mr Gray.
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