Voting Rights for Prisoners
Currently Australian prisoners serving sentences of less than only three years can vote in federal elections. In Aug 2004 Federal Parliament restricted the right to vote to those serving sentences of three years or less.
Now the coalition wants all prisoners barred from voting in federal elections with the introduction late last year of the Electoral and Referendum Amendment (Electoral Integrity and Other Measures) Bill.
There is no evidence that disenfranchising prisoners deters crime or assists in rehabilitation. It is more likely to increase alienation and disengagement from mainstream society and any sense of civic responsibility. This would disenfranchise 25,353 voters of which more than half are expected to serve sentences of less than two years; ie who are likely to be released within a political term. It is a double disenfranchisement for the 5,656 Indigenous people in jail who lost their ATSIC vote last year.
Click here to download an information flyer.
(Prisoners Vote flyer - 182k. PDF format)
Contact your local member and senator
Let them know that voting is the democratic duty of all citizens not a selective reward for some citizens and not for others. Fellow Commonwealth nations like Canada and South Africa have removed such blatantly discriminatory laws.
Check out these local and international media stories here
European Court Ruling (Guardian UK. 45k PDF)
Prisoners vote in Canada ("hundreds voting at... 106k. PDF)
The Age opinion piece (The Age Vic Au. 60k. PDF)
The Government response ("voting changes..." 54k. PDF)
European Court judgement
Canadian Supreme Court Judgement