September 14th 2018 – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tasmanians may not be aware that people who do not hold Australian Citizenship or even permanent residency have the right to vote in council elections.
This means that anyone who occupies a property within the Hobart municipality has the right to vote at our imminent Hobart City Council election including foreign students and people who may be here for a short period of time.
This is of serious concern to candidate for Deputy Mayor and Alderman Martin Waldhoff.
“My understanding is that prior to our last council election, the Greens pushed for legislative change to allow any resident living in Hobart to have the right to vote,” he said.
“I have been contacted by concerned citizens who understand there are as many as 6,500 international students enrolled at UTAS and other education institutions living in Tasmania who are allowed vote if they register on the General Manager’s roll.”
“The concern is that, with our Hare-Clarke voting system, the quota to be elected as an alderman can be as few as 1000 votes and be elected on preferences.”
“A candidate could be elected based on the votes of overseas based students alone. Hypothetically a foreign national could be the next Lord Mayor of Hobart.”
Council elections are not compulsory and importantly, informal. Historically voter turnout has been low.
The Greens are the only political party pre-selecting candidates to stand in the Hobart City Council election.
Statistically the Greens have a voter turnout of approximately 5,000 electors. This has delivered them four aldermen on our current council.
Mr Waldhoff says the risk goes far deeper than simply skewing the voting intentions of Hobart’s permanent residents.
“It has been proposed to me that a foreign nation could stack our city with students who may be here for as little as six months,” he said.
“The informal nature of our election means that all these students could be instructed how to fill out their voting cards. The result could potentially see the election of a Lord Mayor, Deputy Lord Mayor or a number of aldermen on our council who are not Australian citizens and have no concern for the history, livability or future of our city.”
“This election may not just be about the cable car and inner city building heights. It could in-fact be more duplicitous than that.”
Contact – Martin Waldhoff 0422 426 065