Campaign for indigenous voting
IT IS hoped a new campaign by the Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) will encourage more indigenous Australians to have their say on national and local issues by enrolling to vote.
The Louder than One Voice campaign is a short film on YouTube which explores the history and significance of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians gaining the right to vote.
The film is presented through animation and case studies featuring indigenous Australians.
According to the AEC, some estimates indicate less than 50% of eligible Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are enrolled to vote.
Electoral commissioner Ed Killesteyn said it was a particularly appropriate time to launch the campaign, given this year will mark the 50th anniversary of Indigenous Australians getting the vote in 1962.
Mr Killesteyn said it was crucial the voices of Australia's indigenous people were heard.
"Today, an estimated 1.5 million eligible Australians are not enrolled and if an election was held they could miss out on their vote. That's equivalent to having an extra 15 electorates or another state the size of Western Australia," Mr Killesteyn said.
"The 50th anniversary of the right of indigenous Australians to enrol and vote is a very significant anniversary.
"The AEC is marking this anniversary through several initiatives under the banner of its Indigenous Electoral Participation Program (IEPP), including the production of the Louder than One Voice DVD."
Grafton-based NSW IEPP field officer Shayne Skinner encouraged indigenous Australians in the Clarence Valley to enrol to vote if they haven't already.
"Education and health are big issues with our people, so get out there and enrol to vote and have a say; make your voice be heard," Mr Skinner said.
"Many Aboriginal people believe the Government is not going to do anything for us and ask what the Government is going to do for them. But if they don't vote, they should not complain."
The Louder than One Voice video and other resources can be viewed on the AEC YouTube Channel at youtube.com/aecgovau.
For more information about enrolling to vote, visit www.aec.gov.au, call 13 23 26 or drop into the Grafton AEC office in the King St Arcade, Grafton.