Alan Hunter.
Alan Hunter.

Polarised on election enrolments

THE High Court should have gone further last week when it overturned laws that banned people from voting in this election if they enrolled after July 19, Page Greens candidate Jeff Johnson has said.

However, on the other side of the political divide, Richmond Nationals candidate Alan Hunter said the decision went too far, and suggested people who failed to enrol at the first possible opportunity were not treating Australia’s democratic system with the appropriate respect.

Mr Johnson said it was contradictory that Australia should have compulsory voting and an electoral system that required people to go out of their way to get on the roll.

He said Australians should all be put on the electoral roll automatically on the day they turn 18, and that other State and Federal agencies should share information with the Electoral Office so voters’ details were updated as soon as they, for example, replaced their driver’s licence or changed their Medicare details.

However, Mr Hunter said voting was a privilege and Australians should treat it as one. That meant going out of their way to make sure they were on the electoral roll.

Mr Hunter said he also favoured optional voting.

Last Friday’s High Court decision follows a campaign by political group GetUp! to end laws introduced by the former Howard Government in 2006 that demanded the electoral rolls be closed on the day the writs for an election are issued.

Until that law was introduced, rolls were left open for a week after the issuing of the writs.

The decision means about 100,000 people across Australia, who had been left off the roll, would now be able to vote.

The Electoral Office did not expect to have local figures for Page and Cowper until next week.

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