A Letter from the Ethnic Communities' Council of NSW

16th October 1996
The Hon. John Howard
Prime Minister
Parliament House
Canberra ACT 2600

Dear Mr Howard,

The Ethnic Communities Council (ECC) of NSW has been made aware of a difficulty with the current Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918 in continuing to allow British subjects to vote in Australian elections. It is of concern to the ECC of NSW that Australia is allowing people who are not Australian citizens to vote whilst denying that right to other people from other countries who may have legitimate reasons for not becoming Australian Citizens.

The ECC of NSW is a non government peak organisation for ethnic communities in NSW. The ECC of NSW's constituent membership base exceeds some 1000 affiliated ethnic organisations and individuals. Its primary aim is to advocate on behalf of its constituent membership on issues of social justice, access and equity and issues that impact on ethnic communities.

The ECC of NSW position on this matter is clear. The ECC of NSW feels that Australian citizens should be the only people allowed to vote in Australian elections. Although the ECC of NSW understands that there are mitigating circumstances that may prevent some people from taking out Australian citizenship without questioning their commitment to Australia, it seems the simplest solution is to enact a general rule for voting rights.

The ECC of NSW supports the views of Irene Moss and Chris Puplick regarding this issue and would call for the Federal Government to amend S.93 of the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918 to prevent British subjects voting rights in Australian elections. We look forward to your assistance in this matter.

Yours sincerely

(signed)

Angela Chan
Chairperson