Advertisement

Fadden byelection: Electors vote with their feet – and stay away

Despite support fom the PM, Labor's Letitia Del Fabbro was given little chance of claiming Fadden for Labor.

Despite support fom the PM, Labor's Letitia Del Fabbro was given little chance of claiming Fadden for Labor. Photo: AAP

Pre-poll voting for the Fadden byelection is below expectations, raising concerns of a low voter turnout, the Australian Electoral Commission says.

The AEC has issued a call for all voters in Fadden, on the northern Gold Coast, to vote in Saturday’s byelection to replace Stuart Robert.

AEC commissioner Tom Rogers said the number of votes cast so far was below expectations.

By Monday, about 16,000 people had cast their vote at an early voting centre by Monday. This compares to approximately 22,000 votes at the same stage in the 2022 federal election.

The poll is being held in the middle of a national debate about Robodebt, the social welfare repayment system that was overseen by Mr Robert under the Coalition government.

Labor has campaigned on the theme of the byelection being a chance for voters to express their attitude about Robodebt.

The Liberals have a 10 per cent margin in the seat and would normally be expected to hold Fadden. Until Aston earlier this year, governments traditionally lost byelections – but Labor’s Mary Doyle achieved a 6 per cent swing in that poll to win the Victorian seat.

“Byelections have traditionally had less people participate than in a full federal election. But it’s just as important to have your say,” Mr Rogers said.

“The early voting numbers we’re seeing are down by approximately 27 per cent based on the same period in 2022 federal election.”

“Typically, if someone casts their vote early in one election, they’ll do so in the next one as well – and we’re not quite seeing that here, which makes us worry about low participation.

Early voting centres are already open across the electorate and postal vote applications close at 6pm Wednesday. In all, 24,000 postal vote applications have already been submitted.

Mr Rogers said voters could take advantage of the additional locations.

“We’ve sent every Fadden household an official guide to the byelection, we’re communicating where we can through advertising, social media and in discussion with media representatives,” Mr Rogers said.

“We’re also sending text messages and emails to Fadden residents we have the contact details for – it’s a reminder of their right and responsibility to vote.

“It’s more communication than we’ve ever done for a single byelection but ultimately we know that political campaigning activities and media coverage will always be key vehicles for awareness and motivation to vote.

“It’s compulsory to vote at a byelection, as it is at a federal election or a referendum.

“Failure to vote may result in a fine and will mean you have no say on who represents you in federal parliament.”

Across Fadden, there are 131,340 eligible electors enrolled to vote.

The electorate’s six pre-poll voting centres will be open until 6pm on Friday night, and 29 polling places will be open on Saturday, polling day, from 8am to 6pm.

For locations and opening hours, see the AEC website or call 132 326.

Approximately 16,000 people had cast their vote at an early voting centre up until Monday. This compares to approximately 22,000 votes cast in Fadden at the same stage in the 2022 federal election.

This story first appeared in InQueensland and is republished here with permission

Advertisement
Stay informed, daily
A FREE subscription to The New Daily arrives every morning and evening.
The New Daily is a trusted source of national news and information and is provided free for all Australians. Read our editorial charter.
Copyright © 2024 The New Daily.
All rights reserved.