The Australian Electoral Commission must restore the NT Electoral Roll for remote Territorians

Date: Jun 22, 2021

Publication Type: Media Releases

​The Northern Land Council applauds the efforts of Aboriginal Territorians Matthew Ryan of Maningrida and Ross Mandi of Galiwin’ku in lodging a complaint with the Australian Human Rights Commission about the failure of the Australian Electoral Commission to undertake the most basic task that the Commonwealth Parliament has given it – to ensure that all Australian voters are enrolled to vote.

The complaint by Mr Ryan and Mr Mandi indicates that unprecedented voter suppression is taking place in remote communities and homelands across the NLC area.

If their complaint is upheld it will mean that the AEC – a key part of our Australian democratic processes – has systematically discriminated against Aboriginal people on the basis of their race and their living circumstances.

NLC Chairman Samuel Bush-Blanasi said the AEC shouldn’t wait for the outcome of the complaint. 

“All our mob in the NLC area and across the Top End know that the AEC has been failing them for years,” said Mr Bush-Blanasi.

“We know that at the 2018 Federal election about half of the NT’s Aboriginal population wasn’t enrolled to vote. 

"The next Federal election could be called at any time and the AEC has to act, and act urgently to restore those missing voters to the electoral roll.”

Mr Bush-Blanasi continued, “For many years the AEC ran a really good Aboriginal education unit that provided basic electoral information to our people and helped them with enrolment. That unit was disbanded years ago and should be reconstituted to ensure that an urgent awareness campaign is developed and implemented before the next election. This situation is totally unacceptable and needs to be fixed and fixed now.”