The Australian Federal Election is just weeks away and has been scheduled for Saturday 18th May, 2019. As an Australian expat living and working overseas, it’s important to recognise that you can still have your say about the future leadership of our country. Many people often ask if and how they can cast their vote in the Australian Federal Election, so this week I’ve outlined the options available for Australian expats living around the world.
It is compulsory for Australian citizens to vote in federal elections in Australia, and penalties and fines could be imposed if you overlook this obligation. As an Australian expat, you have two key options when it comes to elections and ensuring that you’re not faced with unexpected penalties for failing to vote.
To vote or not to vote
1) Remove yourself from the electoral roll
It’s important to recognise that part of the form is your declaration that you plan to be overseas indefinitely, which also supports you being a non-resident of Australia for tax purposes, rather than declaring that you’re only temporarily absent and will soon return to Australia. This form is typically used if you don’t plan to return to Australia within the next 6 years. You can download the form here and follow the instructions to submit it and remove your name from the electoral roll.
This means that you will not be eligible to participate in referendums and other elections while overseas. You will also need to add yourself back to the electoral roll if/when you return to Australia.
2) Decide to register yourself as an overseas voter
If you do plan to return to Australia within 6 years, you can register yourself as an overseas voter. To do so, you will need to complete the form here. To find what electorate you are registered in, please click here and enter your details. If you’ve been offshore for more than 6 years, or plan to be, you can also contact the AEC and request an extension to allow you to continue voting.
If you are planning to register as an overseas voter, and won’t be visiting Australia in time for the election to cast your vote in person, you have two key options available to you, which I’ve outlined below:
Options for Australian expats to vote
1) Postal Vote
If you plan on submitting a postal vote, it’s important that you apply and follow the appropriate steps. You can apply to be able to submit a postal vote by clicking here. Once you have registered, the Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) will post you the ballot papers to be completed and submitted by Saturday 18th May 2019. You will only have 13 days after the election for these documents to be received by the AEC for your vote to be registered.
It’s important that you have your postal vote witnessed by an eligible witness, which I’ve outlined below:
- An elector whose name appears on the Electoral Roll
- Outside Australia, the following persons are authorised witnesses:
- an officer of the Defence Force or of the naval, military or air forces of a Commonwealth country,
- a person appointed or engaged under the Public Service Act 1999,
- a member of the civil or public service of a State or Territory or of a Commonwealth country,
- a Justice of the Peace for a State or Territory or a Commonwealth country,
- a minister of religion or medical practitioner resident in a State or Territory or a Commonwealth country,
- an Australian citizen.
2) Vote at an Embassy or Consulate
In Singapore, you will be able to cast your vote at the Australian High Commission, at 25 Napier Road, Singapore, 258507 between 8:30am – 4:30pm and early voting will be available from Monday 6th May 2019. You will therefore have just under two weeks to cast your vote in Singapore, so it’s important to plan accordingly, particularly if you will be travelling during these dates.
For a complete list of voting venues for the 2019 Australian Federal Election around the world, you can click here.
If you have any questions at all about how to register or cast your vote, feel free to reach out to myself or directly to the AEC. To follow the odds for the upcoming Federal Election, you can check out the current rates here.
To Your Financial Success!
Jarrad Brown is an Australian-trained and qualified Fee-Based Financial Planner with Australian Expatriate Group of Global Financial Consultants Pte Ltd providing specialist financial advice and portfolio management services to Australian professionals in Singapore. Jarrad Brown is an Authorised Representative of Global Financial Consultants Pte Ltd – No: 200305462G | MAS License No: FA100035-3
Australian Expatriate Group is a division of Global Financial Consultants in Singapore providing specialist advice to Australians living abroad.
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General Information Only: The information on this site is of a general nature only. It does not take into account your individual financial situation, objectives or needs. You should consider your own financial position and requirements before making a decision.
*Please note that Jarrad Brown is not a tax agent or accountant and none of the content outlined here should be taken as personal advice. You should consult your tax agent and financial adviser to review your current personal finances and financial goals to consider whether this strategy is appropriate for you.