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The 2001 Italian expatriate vote: Was it worth it?

A view from the Africa-Asia-Oceania-Antarctica college

Bruno Mascitelli, Rory Steele and Simone Battiston

This book examines the implementation and consequences of the Italian expatriate vote and representation introduced in 2001 in the external electoral colleges with special attention to the Electoral College known as Africa-Asia-Oceania-Antarctica. The Italian elections of 2006, 2008 and 2013 were important moments where the expatriate vote was expressed providing results which Italian lawmakers may have not anticipated. Moreover, the electoral expressions of the external colleges were not always in accord with Italians ones. This study examines how the stakeholders in the Africa-Asia-Oceania-Antarctica college understood and perceived this voting and representation facility after its implementation. What they thought in 2001 and what they think now. The study seeks the views of focus groups across numerous cities in Australia, interviews the protagonists and provides critical commentary on the future of this «right» and whether all this effort «was worth it» in providing Italians abroad with external voting and representation in elections and referendums.

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Preface by Franca Arena xiii

Extract

Preface I was invited to write the preface to this book on the clear understand- ing that I have very strongly formulated views on the topic. In addi- tion it was made clear that my approach would present views in a less scholarly format than the rest of the content of this book on Italian ex- patriate voting which has been in existence for more than ten years af- ter the introduction of the legislation allowing voting and representa- tion to Italians abroad. I am not an academic and my views are based on practical experience as a member of the Italian community in Aus- tralia over the last fifty years. In this time I have served in community affairs, as a radio journalist, as a Member of Parliament (MP) in the New South Wales Parliament and as a member of many community organizations. I have taken a strong interest in the issue of Italians overseas voting in the Parliament in Rome - I am opposed to the idea - and I have expressed my views clearly in writing to then Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd in 2008 and on several occasions to the well-known columnist of the Corriere della Sera, Sergio Romano. I have always objected to the term Italiani all’estero as the term for Italians abroad. Those members of the Italian community who have lived for years in a country like Australia are more appropriately described as Australians of Italian descent. My objections to the voto all’estero (expatriate...

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