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Tuesday, 2 December 2003
Page: 23536


Mr Sciacca asked the Minister representing the Special Minister of State, upon notice, on 13 October 2003:

(1) How many British citizens who are not Australian citizens in (a) Australia, (b) Queensland, and (c) the electoral division of Bowman are eligible to vote in Federal elections.

(2) Does the Government have any plans to change the voting rights of these British citizens in the future


Mr Abbott (Minister for Health and Ageing) —The answer provided to the Special Minister of State by The Australian Electoral Commission is as follows:

Background

British subjects who are not Australian citizens, but who were on the Commonwealth Electoral Roll immediately prior to January 1984, retained their right to enrol and vote in federal elections when the law was changed to make Australian citizenship the basis for the franchise. Since that time, persons enrolling and changing their enrolment details have been required to provide their place of birth so that their entitlement on citizenship grounds could be established. Only those British subjects enrolled on the 25 January 1984 who have updated their enrolment details since that date have been identified as such in the AEC's records.

(1) (a) There are currently 173,802 electors on the Roll who were identified as British subjects at the time of their re-enrolment. Some of these may have become Australian citizens since they last updated their enrolment. There are also a number of British subjects who were enrolled at the relevant time but who have not since changed their address or updated their enrolment details and who, as a consequence, the AEC cannot identify as British subjects. The AEC has no way of accurately estimating the number of these electors.

(b) The number of electors on the Roll, identified as British subjects at the time of their re-enrolment in Queensland is 30,866.

(c) The number of electors on the Roll, identified as British subjects for the Division of Bowman is 1,382.

(2) The AEC is unaware of any proposed changes the Government may be planning.