Petition Closed
Petitioning Prime Minister of Australia

Give the right to vote in Federal elections to Australians living abroad.

Did you know that around half a million Australians do not have the right to vote in Federal elections?

If you are an Australian living overseas, are not on the Electoral Roll anymore, and you left Australia more than three years ago, you are permanently disenfranchised while ever you remain living abroad.

Thinking on this issue has a history dating back to at least 2005. The Australian Senate's Legal and Constitutional References Committee tabled its Report in the Inquiry into Australian Expatriates in Canberra on 8 March 2005. In the introduction to this 168-page report, the Committee states:

"In the same way that most expatriate Australians still embrace Australia as their home, we should embrace our expatriate community as part of the Australian nation, and recognise that our expatriates are an important part of Australian society."

While all Senate Committee's recommendations were rejected outright by the then government, a number of recommendations were picked up in the year's since. Specifically, some very limited overseas elector rules were developed by the Australian Electoral Commission, including the Eligible Overseas Elector (EOE) status.

However, if you are one of the estimated 500,000 plus Australian citizens of voting age resident abroad who is no longer on the electoral roll, and you are prevented under current law from re-enrolling because it's more than three years since you left Australia to live overseas, you are a disenfranchised citizen!

So there is still a long way to go to granting the right to vote to all Australian citizens. Be a part of making this change happen.

With more than 1 million of Australia's 22 million population living abroad, principally because of employment, we are talking about an intelligent, dynamic, motivated population of Australians who still often engage in developments in Australia. Many care deeply for what happens 'back home'.

Give all Australia citizens back the right to vote in Federal elections; universal suffrage should not be conditional on geography but rather a function of citizenship and engagement.

Letter to
Prime Minister of Australia
I just signed the following petition addressed to: Prime Minister of Australia.

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Give the right to vote in Federal elections to Australians living abroad.

The Australian Senate's Legal and Constitutional References Committee tabled its Report in the Inquiry into Australian Expatriates in Canberra on 8 March 2005. In the introduction to this 168-page report, the Committee stated:

"In the same way that most expatriate Australians still embrace Australia as their home, we should embrace our expatriate community as part of the Australian nation, and recognise that our expatriates are an important part of Australian society."

While the Senate Committee made 16 recommendations, many were not acted upon.

Perhaps most significantly, on the issue of voting rights, the Senate Committee recommended that the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918 should be amended to assist expatriate Australians to maintain their electoral enrolment.

1) On the basis that citizenship is the fulcrum of national rights, all Australian citizens moving or living overseas should be entitled to register as an "Eligible Overseas Elector"; and

2) Australian citizens who have been living overseas and have had the right to vote taken away should be entitled to renew their enrolment as an "Eligible Overseas Elector.

As a signal recognition that only overseas Australians who are engaged in developments in Australia would likely exercise the right, the Senate Committee further recommended that voting for overseas Australians should continue to be non-compulsory, and I support this approach.

With more than 1 million of Australia's 22 million population living abroad, principally because of employment, we are talking about an intelligent, dynamic, motivated population of Australians who still often engage in developments in Australia. And many care deeply for what happens 'back home'. Give them back the right to vote in Federal elections; universal suffrage should not be conditional on geography but rather citizenship and engagement.
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Sincerely,