The Howard Government’s attempt to close the rolls to new enrolments on the day the election is called highlights the present government’s fear of not being able to win over today’s young voters.

The proposed changes in the Electoral and Referendum Amendment (Enrolment Integrity and Other Measures) Bill 2004 passed the House of Representatives on May 27 and are due to be debated in the Senate this week.

This is in spite of the Joint Standing Committee on Electoral Matters 2003 Report concluding that the current system of closing the rolls seven days after the elections announcement should be maintained.

The government knows young voters are more likely to vote Green than conservative, so they’re not even giving them a chance.

To not give young people the opportunity for their voices to be heard encourages among our youth a culture of apathy of and disenfranchisement from political systems.

It’s hard enough encouraging youth, who are often overwhelmed by the feeling of not being able to affect change in society, to actually enrol to vote, let alone forcing them to consider it a priority in their lives
before an election is called.

The Federal Government should be encouraging those who hold the future of the country in their hands to take an interest in how their country is governed – not making it more difficult for them to enrol.

I am sitting for the seat of Bonner in response to a clear need for younger representatives in parliament.

Queensland Greens Senate Candidate Drew Hutton said today that the Bill was an electoral blow and the Greens would vote it down.

“This is a blatant attempt by the Howard government to disenfranchise young voters who are more likely to vote for the Greens than their older counterparts,” he said.

Drew and I sent out a media release on this matter.

If you have just turned 18 and haven’t yet enrolled to vote or if you have recently moved, I encourage you to visit the AEC website, download and send in the appropriate paperwork.

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