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Proposed electoral law changes.

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Duncan Kerr SC MP

29 August 2005 



Thousands of Tasmanians may lose their democratic right to vote under the Howard Government's proposed changes to Australia's election laws, the Federal Member for Denison, Duncan Kerr said today.

"In Denison, 1008 people enrolled or changed their enrolment in the week after the 2004 election was called, more than half of them new voters. If John Howard had his way, all of those people would have been at risk of losing their votes.

"The Howard Government wants to close the electoral rolls on the day an election is announced, and then abolish the five-day 'window' that voters currently have to ensure they are enrolled at their right address.

"John Howard does not seem to be able to help himself.  He plans to use his control of the Senate to push through changes designed to limit the number of new voters enrolling in the lead-up to a federal election.

"It's a blatant attempt to deprive thousands of citizens, particularly young people, of having a say in the future political direction of our country.

"Before John Howard had an absolute majority in the Senate, previous attempts to rort the voting system had been rejected.  Now it looks like these changes are going to be forced through.  Clearly, John Howard feels new and first time voters are more likely to reject his ultra-conservative agenda.

"At the 2004 election, over 380 ? people either enrolled for the first time or changed their enrolment details in the week after the Election was called. That included 78 ? young Australians enrolling for the first time.

"In the real world, many people, including many young people, don't think about voting until election time, and don't think about enrolling until the election is actually called. No eligible electors should be deprived of their right to vote.

"This is just one of a raft of changes which the Howard Government wants to make to our election laws, to make them less democratic. Another change, being overseen by Senator Eric Abetz, would make it easy for companies to make large donations to the Liberal Party without having to declare their donations. All these changes are designed to help the Liberal Party in future elections."

"It is politics at its most crude, and an example of the depths to which the Liberal Party will sink in order to entrench itself in power," Mr Kerr said.

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Authorised by Duncan Kerr SC MP 188 Collins Street, Hobart, Tasmania, 7000. Phone (03) 6234 5255 © Duncan Kerr SC MP 2005


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