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Opposition to oppose amendments in the C'wealth electoral act



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LIBERAL M em b er for Hum e

W A L FIFE

MEDIA STATEMENT BY THE HON. WAL. FIFE, M.P., MEMBER FOR HUME, SHADOW MINISTER FOR ADMINISTRATIVE SERVICES AND MANAGER OF OPPOSITION BUSINESS IN THE ■ HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES.

The Federal Opposition will oppose the Government's proposed amendment to the Commonwealth Electoral Act which will extend voting rights to all prisoners other than those convicted of treason.

The Member for Hume and Shadow Minister for Administrative Services, Mr. Wal Fife, announcing this today said that until 1983 only prisoners serving sentences of less than one year retained their entitlement to vote.

In 1983 the Hawke Government extended that right to prisoners serving sentences of less than five years.

"It is undoubtedly an exercise in Fabian style gradualism on the part of the Hawke Government to now allow all prisoners, except any convicted of treason, the right to vote", Mr. Fife said.

The Constitution denies any person the right to be a Member of Parliament if he or she has been convicted of 1 any offence punishable under the law of the Commonwealth or of a State by imprisonment for one year or longer* 1.

"I do not see why there should be any difference between the standards required of a Member of Parliament and those required of an elector. Nor am I aware of any community demand for what is now proposed.

"If anything, the community would like to see strictures on prisoners tightened, rather than have them relaxed".

The Government should reconsider its proposals on prisoners' voting rights and bring them back to what they were in 1983, Mr. Fife said.

Canberra Tuesday, 7 March 1989