Peter Doukas calls for more multilingual information ahead of upcoming by-elections


Chair of the Ethnic Communities’ Council of NSW, Peter Doukas OAM, has called for more multilingual information to be made available to voters ahead of four by-elections taking place in NSW this Saturday, February 4.

For the upcoming by-election in Strathfield, one of Sydney’s most multicultural seats, postal voting packs have been sent to all eligible voters and must be returned by Friday, February 25 at 6pm. People also have the option of voting in person on February 12.

Mr Doukas told ABC News that having a how-to-vote explainer in other languages would minimise the risk of informal voting in postal ballots.

“It goes to the heart of our democracy — it goes to the heart of people who are Australian citizens — being able to exercise their democratic rights without the need to involve other people who have stronger English than them,” Mr Doukas told the national broadcaster.

“I would have expected, given that it is not a general election, the seats with a high percentage of multicultural communities would have been prioritised for information in other languages.

“It is unfortunate we are back at square one for understanding diversity.”

NSW Opposition Leader, Chris Minns, has echoed Doukas’ claims.

This sentiment was echoed by NSW Opposition Leader, Chris Minns, who said it was concerning that postal votes being sent to households in Strathfield did not contain information in languages other than English.

A spokeswoman for the NSW Electoral Commission said all ballot papers in state elections must be written in English. She said information about translation services was, however, being provided on the Commission’s website.

Source: ABC News.

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