You need to enrol to vote as an Overseas voter to guarantee your vote as an Australian citizen.
Australian Law effectively treats overseas Australians as second class citizens because your ability to vote only applies
- if you register within three years of leaving
- for a maximum of six years before returning to Australia from when you leave Australia
When applying to keep your vote you must state that you intend to return to Australia within six years.
There is no penalty for changing your mind later.
How to keep you vote
Firstly check if you are enrolled to vote currently.
If you are already enrolled, you can apply up to three months before, or within three years after, you leave Australia. To do this, complete and submit a:
This form provides you with an option to become a general postal voter so you will automatically receive a postal vote in the mail approximately 2–3 weeks after the announcement of the federal election.
If you are not enrolled, and have been overseas for less than three years, you may still be eligible to enrol if you are:
- an Australian citizen aged 18 years or older, and
- intending to return to Australia within six years.
You cannot enrol for an overseas address – instead you must enrol in the electorate you were entitled to before you left Australia.
To apply for enrolment, complete and submit an:
If you have turned 18 and live overseas
If you are the child of a person who is registered as an overseas elector you can enrol and vote in federal elections if you:
- have never been enrolled
- are an Australian citizen
- are 18 years or older and had not turned 18 before leaving Australia, and
- intend to return to live in Australia within six years after your 18th birthday.
If you wish to enrol to vote, complete and submit an:
- Enrol to vote as the spouse, de facto partner or child of an overseas elector for federal elections form [PDF 134KB]
ALP Abroad supports all Overseas Australians voter rights
That only a small percentage of Overseas Australians vote in elections is due to the Commonwealth Electoral Act making it harder for them to vote.
ALP Abroad proposes putting the voting rights of Australian citizens living overseason the same basis of all Australians, by amending the Commonwealth Electoral Act
The details of how this could be done is outlined in ALP Abroad 2014 submission to the Joint Standing Committee on electoral matters.