Michael Danby MHR

Tel:  (03) 9534 8126
Fax: (03) 9534 1575

117 Fitzroy Street
St Kilda VIC 3182

PO Box 2086
St Kilda West 3182

“Democrat support for the government electoral roll report will disenfranchise thousands of first time voters”, Michael Danby, the Federal Member for Melbourne Ports, said today.

Recommendation 6 of the Joint Select Committee on Electoral Matters Inquiry into the integrity of the electoral roll would close the electoral roll on the day the election is announced.

Projections from the Australian Electoral Commission suggest that some 80,000 first time voters would miss the opportunity to enrol if the Government and the Democrats cut off the normal 7 day period (5 working days) in which 17 and 18 year olds register to vote.

“Enrolling as a voter is not at the front of young people’s minds”, argued Michael Danby. All over Australia, they use the week after the Federal Poll is announced to enrol.

“It is vital for their democratic rights that we give them this chance, especially in a compulsory voting system”, Mr Danby said.

Government Chair, Christopher Pyne, announced today in his speech that he had Democrats support for the Electoral Inquiry report recommendations. Senator Murray, the Democrat representative on the committee had told a press briefing that the Democrats would see what recommendations the government would bring down, before deciding what to do.

“This was not good enough”, Mr Danby said. Labor was entirely opposed to recommendation 6 as the Labor minority report (pp 101 of the report) clearly indicates.

Senator Natasha Stott-Despoja should immediately indicate the Democrats position on the democratic rights of new voters and commit to voting against these conservative government plans that would disenfranchise young voters”, Michael Danby insisted.

“Before the Pyne (integrity of the Electoral Roll) Inquiry even commenced, the Liberal Party planned to try to reduce the period when young people enrolled”, Mr Danby said, pointing to Lynton Crosby’s (the National Director of the Liberal Party) submission to the post 1998 election report of the Joint Select Committee on Electoral Matters.

“The Liberal’s position on the youth vote is longstanding”, Mr Danby said.
But Senator Stott-Despoja should overrule Senator Murray and announce that the Democrats will vote with Labor against this anti-youth government measure”, said Mr Danby.

Senator Andrew Murray’s press statement today typically only focuses on the recommendation of the Pyne report that reflects on internal Labor Party issues echoing the Prime Minister’s attack on the ALP in the House today.

“The Democrats would be hypocritical given their image of interest in Australian youth if they meanly went along with Christopher Pyne’s and the government’s proposals”, Mr Danby concluded.

Authorised by Michael Danby 117 Fitzroy Street St Kilda VIC 3182