664 FIJIANS REGISTER DURING AUSTRALIAN VOTER REGISTRATION DRIVE

664 Fijian citizens came forward to register to vote in the 2014 General Elections during the recent registration drive in Australia, the first of its kind in Fiji’s history.

Over the course of the nine-day campaign, which ran from February 14th to February 22nd, five registration teams travelled to 49 locations around the Australian Capital Territory, New South Wales, Queensland and Victoria, the territories with the highest populations of Fijian citizens.

The teams visited Sydney, Canberra, Melbourne and Brisbane, as well as other major towns and cities, such as Adelaide, Liverpool, Penrith, Griffith, Ballarat, Banyo, and Cairns.

For the exercise, a total of 13 specialised staff were deployed from the Fijian Elections Office in Suva, supported by officials from the Fijian High Commission in Canberra and Fijian Consulate in Sydney.

The total cost of the Australian registration drive was 115,000 FJD.

The Attorney-General and Minister Responsible for Elections, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, said that the registration drive ran very smoothly, attributing its success to the hard work and careful planning of all involved.

“This campaign was well organised and well publicised, and we are satisfied that Fijian citizens living in Australia were given a very good opportunity to register to vote,” he said.

The Attorney-General explained that in addition to the widespread media campaign announcing the details of the registration drive, Fijians were also given the option to pre-register their interest in voter registration by submitting a form through the Elections Office’s website.

“Each person who submitted a form was contacted personally with the locations and opening hours of the registration centres,” he said.

The Attorney-General said that the Bainimarama Government has made it a priority to conduct Fiji’s first-ever voter registration drives for Fijians living overseas.

This includes those already held in New Zealand and Australia, with campaigns in the United Kingdom and the West Coast of the United States to follow later in the year.

“Giving Fijian citizens living overseas the opportunity to register is an important part of conducting elections that are free, fair and credible,” he said.

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