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Norfolk Island Voting and Electoral Anomalies to go

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M e d i a

R e l e a s eTHE HON ALEX SOMLYAY MR Minister for Regional Development, Territories and Local Government


“The Commonwealth will be moving to tidy up some anomalies in relation to voting and election rights of Australian Citizens for the Norfolk Island Legislative Assembly, the Territories Minister”, Alex Somlyay, announced today.

“Some anomalies emerged several years ago when voting rights for British subjects were changed,” Mr Somlyay said.

"The Norfolk Island Assembly is the only Parliament in Australia - Federal, State or Territory - where it is not now mandatory to be an Australian Citizen to enrol in local elections, to be an Assembly Member, or even a Minister in the Government.”

“Nor are Australian Citizens ordinarily resident on the Island at the time of the Island elections automatically entitled to enrol to vote,” he said.”

“In dealing with these anomalies, it is only fair that no one should lose an existing right to vote. While the Federal Government proposes that only Australian Citizens should be eligible for new enrolment for voting for and to be a member of the Island Assembly, we firmly believe that the present rights of all those on the Island’s electoral roll should be preserved irrespective of their

citizenship. Assembly Members who are not Australian Citizens would be able to serve out the period for which they were elected. For the future, they may also apply for Australian Citizenship.”

“The Federal Government’s view is that all Australians ordinarily resident on the Island at the time of the Territory elections should be entitled to a vote”, Mr Somlyay said. “This would ensure that Australians living on Norfolk Island have voting entitlements equivalent to their counterparts in Federal, State and other Territory Parliamentary elections. Our approach

demonstrates the Federal Government’s commitment to achieving equal rights and opportunities for all Australians throughout the Commonwealth.”

6 March 1998

Contact: Don Morris (Minister’s Office) (02) 6277 7060 Vivan Mawhinney (Department) (023) 6274 8088