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Monday, 29 November 2004
Page: 21


Mr MURPHY (1:51 PM) —Amongst the questions I placed on the first Notice Paper of this parliament is question No. 40, addressed on 17 November 2004 to the Minister representing the Special Minister of State. My question asks what the minister is doing to ensure that visually impaired and blind people are able to independently cast a vote at the next federal election.

The Royal Blind Society of New South Wales and the Association of Blind Citizens of New South Wales are located in Enfield and Burwood respectively. I am very proud to report to the House that these wonderful institutions that do so much to help the visually impaired are both situated in my electorate of Lowe. In this modern and very technological age, there is no reason why people who are visually impaired cannot be afforded the right to cast a vote in secret. This is their democratic right. Accordingly, I call on the government and the Joint Standing Committee on Electoral Matters to immediately investigate this matter and provide the technology and a system that will allow visually impaired people to vote independently at the next federal election, which is expected in 2007. I urge all members of this House to support this initiative.