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Good day for democracy, time to go online: Bandt

Media Release
Adam Bandt 2 Mar 2011

Speaking in Parliament Greens MP Adam Bandt has backed a bill that will restore the voting rights of tens of thousands of Australians and criticised the Coalition for continuing to back Howard government restrictions on late enrolments.

Mr Bandt has also said it is time the Australian Electoral Commission looked at online enrolment.

The ban on late enrolments was successfully challenged in the High Court before the last election by the campaign group GetUp.

"This is a good day for democracy in Australia", Greens MP Adam Bandt said today.

"These changes mean the rolls will close seven days out from Election Day. In New Zealand the rolls close the day before and in Canada the rolls close on polling day."

"Australia could be looking at going further than the provisions in this bill and investigate measures to maximum the franchise, including of first-time voters, by closing rolls much closer to polling day itself."

"It is also time in my view that the Australian Electoral Commission needs to investigate whether there is a secure way of allowing online enrolments. This would help maximise enrolment, especially amongst young people."

"The ban on late enrolments put in place by the Coalition Howard government was an attempt to massage the criteria for enrolment in such a way as to meet their own political ends."

"We shouldn't be surprised that we are seeing on display the Coalition's dumping of its liberal values in its argument against the restoration of democratic rights that it wrestled off tens of thousands of mostly young Australians in the first place."

"We have heard a lot recently about the morphing of the Coalition into the dangerous doppelganger of the ultra-conservative Tea Party movement in the United States."

"It is a reflection of how far the Coalition has lurched to the right that the High Court, not itself a radical institution, has had to act to overturn these undemocratic laws."

The Electoral and Referendum Amendment (Enrolment and Prisoner Voting) Bill 2011 also restores the status quo on prisoner voting and makes a number of other procedural amendments.


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