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Young & Black Voting Rights Threatened

Media Release
Bob Brown 14 Feb 1999

Greens Senator Bob Brown says Government electoral reform legislation to be debated in the Senate on Monday will mean tens of thousands of voters, disproportionately young and black, will miss out on voting.

The Electoral and Referendum Amendment Bill (No. 2) 1998 dramatically shortens the period before an election when people can enrol or re-enol to vote.

"This provision will mean young people and those who generally move house more are much more likely to miss-out on voting at the next election," said Greens Senator Bob Brown.

"For all new electors the rolls will close at 6pm on the day of the issue of the writ for an election. It is estimated that some 80 000 new enrolments occur in the one week period (to be eliminated under this legislation) before the close of rolls in an election period.

"That"s 80 000 mostly young people"s basic democratic right at threat.

"The legislation also removes voting rights for all people in prison (the legislation will effect some 10000 prisoners) where Aboriginal people are greatly over-represented.

"These measures combine to produce a full-scale Government assault on democracy.

"The legislation would prove to be racially discriminatory. Indigenous Australians are vastly over-represented in prisons, with incarceration rates some 20 times for Aboriginal Australians that of the general population.

"The Greens will also be opposing provisions in the legislation that increase the threshold at which donations to political parties have to be declared (from $1500 to $10 000 in some instances) and whereby political parties will be able to obtain the personal salutation details of electors," said Senator Brown.

Further information

03 6234 1633

Great news. Success for the Greens over this issue! Check out this article for the outcome.

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