SUPPLIED | AEC
THE Australian Electoral Commission has launched a month-long advertising and communication campaign aimed at encouraging First Nations Australians to have their say at electoral events.
Electoral Commissioner Tom Rogers said the campaign was aimed at the estimated 101,000 Indigenous Australians who were not enrolled to vote.
“Australia’s estimated Indigenous enrolment rate of 81.7 per cent is the highest it’s ever been, but we’re not going to be satisfied until we’ve closed the gap with the broader national enrolment rate,” Rogers said.
“There is clearly the likelihood of a referendum soon with a topic specific to First Nations Australians, making high levels of enrolment and engagement even more important.
“Given its importance, I’ve asked the Deputy Electoral Commissioner, and the AEC’s Indigenous Champion, Mr Jeff Pope to lead the agency’s continued efforts to have First Nations participation as high as it can possibly be.”
Deputy Electoral Commissioner Jeff Pope said the AEC would be “pulling out all the stops”.
“This focused advertising campaign is part of a range of continuing engagement efforts we’re undertaking that has seen year-on-year growth in First Nations enrolment since 2017, and the largest rise in estimated First Nations enrolment occur this past year.” he said.
“We have more than 80 current partnerships with government and community organisations aimed at increasing First Nations enrolment and participation, and are trialling new ways to apply the Federal Direct Enrolment and Update program.
“In the past few years I have been to a range of remote Indigenous communities and heard from community elders about the societal challenges that understandably result in electoral participation not being front of mind but it really is just so important as one way for those voices to be heard.
“It is critical that enrolment for all Australians is as high as possible for the proposed federal referendum but this is also a body of work the AEC has been focussing on for many years, and that’s reflected in the roll growth.”
The advertising campaign will run on First Nations-focused television, radio and online media between now and mid-December.
Removing enrolment barriers
The AEC has also simplified the enrolment process for voters without an accepted identification document.
Mr Rogers said that in the past, voters without ID were required to print a form and have an enrolled voter vouch for their identity in writing.
“We’ve listened to feedback from voters that this was cumbersome and a barrier to enrolling,” Mr Rogers said.
“Now, you’ll be able to have an enrolled voter vouch for your identity entirely online – no printer required.”
Future updates to the system will provide additional flexibility for enrolled voters who are not physically present with people who are enrolling or updating their enrolment.