Citizenship, Interests, Community and Expression: Expatriate Voting Rights in Australian Elections
LAW AND POLICY PAPERS: CITIZENSHIP IN A POST-NATIONAL WORLD: AUSTRALIA AND EUROPE COMPARED, Simon Bronitt, Kim Rubenstein, eds., pp. 24-37, Federation Press, 2008
14 Pages Posted: 22 Aug 2008
The ability of expatriates to vote in their country of origin is of growing interest in a time of increased mobility across borders. Australian expatriates, numbering upwards of a million, tend to be young and educated.
This article details the history of the right to vote from overseas in Australia, and compares and critiques it to comparable jurisdictions (the UK, Canada and New Zealand).
The assumption that citizenship implies a right to vote is rejected as meeting neither liberal nor communitarian understandings. Ultimately, the article argues against an unduly wide expatriate franchise for non-emigrant societies, and notes the paradox that, as countries like Australia globalise, nationalist resentiment responds as a barrier to any full-scale expatriate franchise.
Keywords: elections and voting, expatriate franchise, citizenship and voting rights, Australia and Common Law
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