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Tuesday, 19 August 1980
Page: 457

Mr West asked the Minister for Administrative Services, upon notice, on 22 May 1980:

(1)   Has his attention been drawn to reports of a provision in the Electoral Act of Western Australia, as amended in February 1980, which provides that a person shall not persuade or induce, or associate with any other person in persuading or inducing an elector to make application for a postal vote(s.9S-(3S)(l)). (

(2)   Is the Australian Electoral Office currently conducting a campaign to educate Aboriginal people about Australia's Parliamentary and electoral systems.

(3)   Has his attention been drawn to reports (a) that several community advisers in the Kimberley area, WA, who have been involved in a program of electoral education for Aborigines, have had over 100 charges laid against them with regard to the recent Western Australian elections and (b) that an electoral education officer, employed by the Australian Electoral Office advising members of an Aboriginal community that they should cast a postal vote if they cannot get to a ballot box, would be breaking the State law and subject to prosecution.

(4)   Is the Electoral Act of Western Australia depriving Aboriginals of their full voting rights; if so, does the Australian Electoral Office have plans to overcome the situation created by the Western Australian Act, and if so, what are the plans.

Mr John McLeay (BOOTHBY, SOUTH AUSTRALIA) - The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows: (l)Yes.

(2)   Yes.

(3)   (a) Yes. It should be noted that the several community advisers referred to have no official involvement in the program referred to in (2) .

(3)   (b) No. The Aboriginal Electoral Education Team operates under a program that has been set up by the Commonwealth in collaboration with the Western Australian Government and in the case of postal voting limits instruction to an explanation of the qualifications and procedures for obtaining a postal vote.

(4)   As this question is clearly argumentative, I have no wish to comment.

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