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Eligibility of British subjects to vote in the 1999 referenda.



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Media Release

 

SENATOR THE HON. CHRISTOPHER ELLISON

Special Minister of State

Senator for Western Australia

 

1 September 1999

E/99

 

ELIGIBILITY OF BRITISH SUBJECTS TO VOTE IN THE 1999 REFERENDA

 

 

The Special Minister of State, Senator Chris Ellison tod ay set the record straight regarding the eligibility of people from British background to vote in the 1999 Referenda.

 

“To be entitled to vote at the Referenda on 6 November 1999, a person must be over 18 years of age and be an Australian citizen, or a British subject who was on the roll immediately before 26 January 1984.”

 

“British subjects who were already enrolled on 25 January 1984 have been able to retain their franchise.”

 

“This change was mooted as early as May 1981 following discussions between the then Minister for Immigration and Ethnic Affairs, the Hon. Ian McPhee, MP, and his State counterparts, and was incorporated into legislation through the Statute Law (Miscellaneous Amendments) Act 1981.”

 

“The changes to voting qualifications did not come into effect until 1984, by which time there was a concurrence of all political parties and all governments, both State and Commonwealth.”

 

“When the voting qualifications changed, it was considered - by all political parties - to be unfair to disenfranchise British subjects who were already enrolled and entitled to vote.”

 

“There have been some media reports which estimate the number of people who fall into this category at more than 300,000 people”.

 

“The Australian Electoral Commission, however, informs me that they estimate there are less than 200,000 British subjects who are not Australian citizens but who are entitled to be enrolled”.

 

“Any move to change the present voting entitlements would require both legislative amendment and a compete review of all electors on the Commonwealth electoral roll”, said Senator Ellison.

 

Media inquiries: Virginia Wallace (02) 6277 7600

 

 

al  1999-09-03  09:41