Exclusion of homeless voters disturbing: Sir William

30 July 2007 at 10:01 am | Posted in Australia Federal Elections, News, Sir William Deane, Sydney Peace Prize | Leave a comment

Former Australia Governor General and 2001 Sydney Peace Prize recipient Sir William Deane has expressed concern over the number of homeless people who could be excluded from this year’s federal election.

 The Age reported that up to 60,000 homeless people across Australia could be affected.

Sir William said this state of affairs is “deeply disturbing” because “in a true democracy such as ours, the views of the electorate are important in framing both political views and policies. If most of the people directly affected by homelessness in our country … do not participate in the political process, the needs and interests of the homeless are less likely to carry the weight that they should.”

He added that disenfranchisement exacerbates the isolation of the people “and a further cause of the lack of self-esteem”.

Hanover Welfare Services chief executive Tony Keenan there was no legal obstacle for the homeless to vote. He added that the homeless vote rate could be improved with initiatives such as having polling booths in crisis housing centres to ensure that those enrolled to vote will be able to cast their ballot.

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