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.