A view from the Africa-Asia-Oceania-Antarctica college
4. Views from the Focus Groups: Canberra, Sydney and Melbourne 71
CHAPTER 4 Views from the Focus Groups: Canberra, Sydney, and Melbourne No one anywhere in the world knew what to expect with the introduc- tion of Italian expatriate postal vote and the Diaspora parliamentary representation in 2001 (Law 459/2001). In Italy and abroad such a novelty may have caused both excitement and bemusement. Abroad it initially made little impact until its first implementation in the 2003 and 2005 referendums, and later in the 2006 national elections. Lead- ers of Italian expatriate communities were quick to inform fellow ex- patriates and their communities of the new status they had acquired and how this might provide services and support they might otherwise not have. In this initial period speculation was rife over pension rights, re-acquired Italian citizenship and even greater access to Italian televi- sion. Finally there was a feeling that the decades of being forgotten as Italians abroad might be redressed. As the electoral campaign acquired momentum in 2006, and again in 2008 and in 2013, the issues ad- dressed by the candidates began to reveal the limits to this representa- tion in Parliament, indicating how existing Italian parties with candi- dates representing them had their own party policies which could only marginally meet the aspirations of Italians abroad. This is a study of the views of a selected group of the electorate of Italian expatriates, namely those residing in the cities of Canberra, Sydney and Melbourne and enrolled in the off-shore Italian electoral college of Africa-Asia-Oceania-Antarctica (AAOA). While anecdotal evidence...
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