Invitation for submissions for inquiry into elections
Voting in Australian Elections while Living AbroadHere's your chance to have your say.
|Are you a disenfranchised Australian expatriate?|
Tell Canberra what you think by Friday 7 March 2014.
After every federal election, the Australian Parliament's Joint Standing Committee on Electoral Matters (JSCEM) holds an inquiry into the conduct of that election.
The Inquiry into the 2013 Federal Election and matters related thereto is now in progress.
The terms of reference for this inquiry are very broad, so you can air your views on anything to do with the Australian electoral system.
Many Australians who live abroad are prevented from voting in Australian elections. This is because they are no longer on the electoral roll, and Commonwealth legislation currently prevents them from enrolling from abroad if they left Australia to live abroad more than three years ago. The SCG estimates that there are probably upwards of half a million disenfranchised adult Australian citizens abroad.
The SCG has been working on this problem for nearly 15 years. As a result of our efforts, the previous two-year window for enrolling once you move overseas was lengthened to three years in 2004. That was a small improvement, but we still can't re-enfranchise all those expat Aussies not currently on the electoral roll who left more than three years ago.
The fix is simple: we just need 18 words deleted from one Act of Parliament.
Section 94A(2)(c) of the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918 says that an application for enrolment from outside Australia "must be made within 3 years of the day on which the applicant ceased to reside in Australia".
If you think this mass disenfranchisement of hundreds of thousands of adult Australian citizens is not right, then send a short email submission to the JSCEM inquiry.
Here's a suggested text to cut and paste into your submission:
I call upon the JSCEM to recommend the repeal of Section 94A(2)(c) of the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918 so that expatriate adult Australians who left Australia to reside abroad more than three years ago can enrol to vote.
I believe that following the High Court's decisions in Roach in 2007 and Rowe in 2010, Section 94A(2)(c) may well be unconstitutional, because it excludes a significant part of the Australian people from the electorate.
It's easy. Do it now.
You can also fax or post your submission to the JSCEM, or attach your Word document or pdf to an email:
Joint Standing Committee on Electoral Matters
Department of House of Representatives
PO Box 6021
CANBERRA ACT 2600
Phone: +61 (02) 6277 2374
Fax: +61 (02) 6277 4774
DEADLINE FOR SUBMISSIONS: Friday 7 March 2014