ben moretti on 24 Aug 2000 14:33:32 -0000

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<nettime> Virtual Electorate for South Australia

Hi Phil and Nettimers

Your readers might find this interesting. I have not really looked into it
very closely and don't have too many opinions of it so far. 

SA is a fairly conservative state, however it has a strong liberal
tradition: it was the only free, non-convict colony in Australia, and was
the first state to have women voting, decriminalise homosexuality (I
think), and decriminalise marijuana. Many of the early settlers were
religious refugees from Europe, particularly the "low" protestant
churches, and I think these independant ideas are still prevelant. 

The original document is at

I have reformatted this and edited the URLs slightly to make them



               MEDIA RELEASE

Hon Michael Armitage MP
Minister for Government Enterprises
Minister for Information Economy

August 17th 2000


The South Australian Parliament will be the first in the world to move
towards creating a "global Virtual Electorate" for expatriates who want to
maintain their commitment to their home State. 

Information Economy Minister Michael Armitage today announced the
electoral innovation which would see the creation of a Virtual Electorate
- to which South Australians anywhere in the world may elect their own
Member of the Legislative Council in State Elections. 

"What this means is that we will launch for public debate a proposed model
for legislative change which would see the creation of a new electorate -
a 'Virtual Electorate'," Dr Armitage says. 

"This model would consist of an Upper House electorate with full
Parliamentary representation, but with the electoral roll made up
exclusively of South Australians NOT currently residing in this State. 

Dr Armitage says the Virtual Electorate model is just one component of
Information Economy 2002 : Delivering the Future, which, through a series
of community-based initiatives, aims to connect all South Australians not
only to each other but to the world. 

The benefits to the people of South Australia of a Virtual Electorate

   * parliamentary debates which will be enhanced by global
     perspectives and information of benefit to the development of
     public policy and debate;
   * direct social and economic returns through being able to tap into
     a global pool of talented South Australians, linked into
     activities around the world.

The Virtual Electorate consultation also will attract global attention to
South Australia, a State that boasts a proud record of electoral reform,
such as granting women the vote in 1894 and being the first to provide the
opportunity for women to stand for Parliament. 

"We are now seeking community comment and feedback before a final model is
put forward", Dr Artmitage says. 

To find out more about the Virtual Electorate and the Information Economy
2002 strategy, call 1800 07 2002 or go to the Information Economy 2002
online address, People can join online
discussion at the Government's discussion site, 


   * This proposal sets out a proposed framework for legislation to
     amend the Electoral Act to create a special "global",
     extraterritorial Upper House electorate for expatriate South
     Australians not currently represented as "citizens" of the State.

   * The Virtual Electorate will be represented by two Upper House

   * Eligibility to enrol as an elector in this electorate will be
     open to a person who is
     - 18 years of age;
     - An Australian citizen;
     - Born in SA but ineligible to enrol under Section 29(1) (c) of
     the Electoral Act.
     - One method by which an elector can become ineligible under 29
     (1) c is if they give up South Australia as their principle place
     of residence.

   * Persons enrolled in this electorate will have no vote in
     elections for the House of Assembly.

   * Enrolment and voting for this electorate will not be compulsory.

   * Candidates for election as a member for the Virtual Electorate
     - Must qualify as South Australian electors, either generally or
     only for this electorate;
     - Occupy the position on the same terms and conditions as any
     other Member of Parliament.

   * The overall model will be reviewed by the Parliament after the
     inaugural election.

   * Legislation will be required to give effect to the creation of a
     new electorate and provisions for eligibility and representation.

   * As a policy position, the Liberal Government will commit to field
     only one candidate in the inaugural election in order to promote
     an inclusive, bi-partisan approach to this pioneering initiative.


ben moretti

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