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World Quirky law allows Australians in Britain to vote in election

00:30  21 november  2019
00:30  21 november  2019 Source:   smh.com.au

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Hundreds of thousands of Australians have the right to vote due to a law pertaining to citizens of the Commonwealth living in Britain . London: The heads of the Liberal and Labor groups in the UK have joined forces to urge Australians living there to register to vote in the December 12 election .

General elections ( elections to the UK Parliament) usually take place every 5 years. To vote in a general election you must MPs are elected using the First Past the Post system. You vote once for a candidate in your constituency and the candidate with the most votes becomes your MP.

Kylie Minogue wearing a purple shirt: Australian expats, like pop star Kylie Minogue, are eligible to vote in British elections. © Invision Australian expats, like pop star Kylie Minogue, are eligible to vote in British elections.

The heads of the Liberal and Labor groups in the UK have joined forces to urge Australians living there to register to vote in the December 12 election.

The deadline to register to vote is November 26. The number of Australians who call the UK home fluctuates but has been estimated at between 200,000 and 400,000.

Under British law, all Commonwealth citizens who have the right to remain in Britain are eligible to vote in elections. By contrast, EU citizens living and working in the UK are not permitted to vote. This meant Australians were entitled to a say in the Brexit referendum while EU citizens, who will no longer be able to freely live and work in the UK after Brexit, were not.

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Since I became a British citizen, everyone keeps telling me I need to register to vote but I've actually been allowed to vote in UK matters since I Did you know there is a rule that allows Australians and New Zealanders to vote ? Quirky law allows Australians in Britain to vote in election .

Quirky law allows Australians in Britain to vote in election . The British proposal’s critics point to Australia ’s national broadband network as demonstrating why governments should not get involved in broadband.

a bridge over a body of water with a city in the background: Australians living in the UK are registering to vote in the election. © Supplied Australians living in the UK are registering to vote in the election.

ALP Abroad president Paul Smith said registering to vote as an Australian living in the UK was simple.

"You simply have to have a UK address and you don't have to be a British citizen," he said.

He said citizenship was not a requirement to hold office in Britain.

"I only hold an Australian passport and have been elected as a local councillor in Islington [in London] since 2006," Smith said.

Pictures: A timeline of Brexit

Unlike in Australia, voting in the UK is not compulsory and the seats are decided by a first-past-the-post instead of a preferential system.

Jason Groves, president of Australian Liberals Abroad UK, said this meant Australians could have a real say in determining whether Boris Johnson or Jeremy Corbyn will occupy Number 10 after the election.

"Many of London’s most marginal seats have high concentrations of Australians so it’s vital that they register to vote so they can make their voice heard," Groves said.

"Post Brexit, the relationship between the UK and Australia is poised to bloom."

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has repeatedly promised an Australian-style point-based controlled immigration system to replace free movement.

Australia wants to gain easier access for skilled workers to live and work in the UK after Brexit.

According to data prepared by the Westminster think tank The Adam Smith Institute, the number of visas granted to Australians by the UK has halved since 2005 from 37,375 to 19,134 in 2017.

Similarly, in 2007-08, 30,841 British migrants travelled to Australia but this had declined by 56 per cent to 13,654 a decade later.

By comparison, under freedom of movement, immigration from the EU to the UK has grown by 350 per cent between 2001 and 2017.

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