Some frequently-asked questions about the REDUCE IMMIGRATION write-on campaign are answered here.
Q: … Do others share my concern about increased immigration into Australia and our high rate of population growth?
A: … Yes, about 70% of Australians share your concern. Both major parties’ commitment to high immigration flies in the face of our environmental sustainability, our social cohesion and our cultural integrity. Annual immigration numbers have more than doubled between 1999 and 2013. Immigration contributes 53% of our annual population growth rate of 1.4%, one of the highest in the developed world.
Q: … Why do we need to reduce immigration?
A: … There are many reasons which have been outlined in a variety of publications over recent years. Some of these are accessible via our Links pages. A good starting point is Denis McCormack’s article, ‘A Poll on Immigration’, from the Melbourne newspaper, Herald Sun, 3 March 1993.
Q: … Does writing on my ballot paper invalidate my vote, by making it informal?
A: … No, your formal vote will still be valid despite extra markings, so long as you don’t obscure your numbered squares and providing that you do not include markings that reveal your identity. The Australian Electoral Commission has confirmed that you can write extra words on a ballot paper. Their official Ballot paper formality guidelines provide detailed information on how polling place officials determine the formality of ballot papers, and their media comments (including an ABC radio interview on 5 September 2013 and an article in The Australian on 6 July 2016) confirm that slogans can be written on ballots without rendering the vote informal.
Antony Green, the ABC’s election commentator, has written: “Formality laws allow ballot papers to be counted even though they contain other markings, legible or otherwise. The only tests are that the markings do not obscure the formal marking of preferences…”
Q: … Is it illegal to write on my ballot paper?
A: … No, there is no law against writing a message on your ballot paper.
Q: … Will writing REDUCE IMMIGRATION on my ballot paper have any effect?
A: … When votes are being counted, scrutineers and officials of the Electoral Commission will notice an effective write-on campaign. If sufficient voters share their concern about excessive immigration, the political parties and the media will definitely take notice.
Q: … What is a write-on campaign?
A: … In Australia we are allowed to write messages on blank parts of a ballot paper to convey our personal views. A write-on campaign encourages people to write the same message on their ballot papers so as to convey a consistent idea to scrutineers, staff of the Electoral Commission, other observers and the media when votes are being counted.
Q: … Has a write-on campaign ever succeeded in the past?
A: … Yes! At the Tasmanian referendum on 12 December 1981, voters wrote ‘No Dams’ on 33% of the ballot papers. Subsequently the write-on campaign against damming the Franklin River was promoted at federal by-elections in 1982. The ‘No Dams’ campaign delivered a 12% write-on in the Lowe by-election on 13 March 1982 and 40% in the Flinders by-election on 4 December 1982. The AEC and scrutineers reported this extraordinary surge of public opinion.
As a result, the ALP took note of the write-on and promised to stop the Gordon below Franklin Dam. Bob Hawke fulfilled that pledge when the ALP came to office on the ‘No Dams’ policy platform in March 1983. This precedent shows that ‘write-on’ campaigns can influence political decision-making.
Further reading: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Franklin_Dam_controversy (see sub-section: The campaign broadens)
Q: … Why do we need a write-on campaign?
A: … Bipartisanship across the major political parties has kept the idea of a lower immigration policy from becoming a real electoral issue, let alone the political reality. Without the write-on message, the winning party will always claim a mandate to continue unsustainable immigration. The only effective way to express the majority’s objection to excessive immigration is the write-on.
Q: … When and where can I participate in a write-on campaign?
A: … You can write the REDUCE IMMIGRATION message on any ballot paper – whether for federal, state or local government elections, or for referendums. Immigration affects every level of government because it impacts every aspect of Australian life, including border control, resources, infrastructure, education, plus health, community and human services. Whichever way you choose to vote, you can also use your ballot papers at any election to send the message about the direction in which immigration numbers should go.
Q: … How do I make my views known?
A: … Participate in the REDUCE IMMIGRATION write-on campaign whenever you cast your vote. Click here for the easy step-by-step instructions.
Q: … How can I help with the REDUCE IMMIGRATION write-on campaign?
A: … You can assist in a number of ways! Here are some suggestions:
- Share this website with your friends, family and colleagues via email, blogs, Twitter, Facebook and other social media.
- Comment on the website, using the “Leave a Comment” tool at the foot of this page.
- Follow us on Twitter. You can also “follow” the new posts to this website by providing your email address in the Follow box in the bottom right corner of your screen.
- Download our promotional flyers: a useful bookmark and a generic Reduce Immigration leaflet. These are applicable all over Australia, at any level of government. Print off copies and distribute them in your community! No matter where you live, work or play, it would be a very helpful thing if every notice board you passed had a copy of the REDUCE IMMIGRATION leaflet pinned to it!
- Support our campaign by:
- standing as a candidate and thus gaining publicity for the campaign;
- nominating others as candidates;
- letter-boxing the leaflet at election time;
- offering to assist candidates with scrutineering of the ballot count (and let us know the REDUCE IMMIGRATION write-on participation that you observe);
- donating funds or in-kind support. Email us (as per the next dot point) to discuss!
- Contact us using this online form, or send us your ideas by email to: email@example.com
Note that, to reduce our spam mail, the email address is not a ‘live’ link. You need to copy and paste the email address into the “To” line of your email system.