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Thursday, 29 May 1997
Page: 4079

(Question No. 569)


Senator Brown asked the Minister representing the Minister for Administrative Services, upon notice, on 7 May 1997:

(1) Is it a fact that: (a) the citizens of Norfolk Island are entitled to vote in elections for the House of Representatives and the Senate, but not required to do so; and (b) that if they vote, they can nominate to be part of whichever electorate they choose.

(2) Is the number of citizens on Norfolk Island considered in determining the allocation of electorates to States and Territories; if so: (1) in which State or Territory are they counted; and (b) on what basis; if not, why not.

(3) If Norfolk Island citizens were counted as part of the Australian Capital Territory, would this affect the number of House of Representatives seats to which the Australian Capital Territory is entitled.


Senator Kemp —The Minister for Administrative Services has provided the following answer to the honourable senator's question:

(1) (a) Enrolment is not compulsory for Norfolk Islanders. However, once enrolled the compulsory voting provisions apply.

(1) (b) Residents of Norfolk Island may enrol, under certain conditions, for any Division in Australia, except for the Division of the Northern Territory or the Division of Fraser in the Australian Capital Territory (ACT), both of which already have enrolled electors from other external/internal territories (Christmas and Cocos/Keeling Islands and Jervis Bay respectively).

(2) For the purposes of determining representation entitlements for each State and Territory of the federal Parliament, the population of the Commonwealth must first be ascertained. This count does not include the population of any Territory referred to in section 122 of the Constitution.

This means that most Norfolk Islanders are excluded from the total population count, with the exception of residents who are Temporary Entry Permit Holders on Norfolk Island, and whose last place of residence was in one of the six Australian States.

When the population of the Commonwealth has been ascertained, the representation entitlements of each State and Territory are then determined by dividing the population of the Commonwealth by twice the number of Senators for the States in order to strike a quota. The population of each State and Territory is then divided by this national quota to determine the representation entitlement of each State and Territory.

In the case of the ACT, Norfolk Islanders who are enrolled for the Divisions of Canberra and Namadgi are included in the total ACT population, which is then divided by the national quota to determine the AT representation entitlement.

(3) Yes. At the most recent determination of the number of members of the House of Representatives to be chose in States and Territories, the AT

fell short of a third seat by 658 persons and is therefore currently being redistributed. If the 1,400 or so Australian citizens on Norfolk Island had been added to the population of the ACT, a third seat would have bene necessary by a comfortable margin.