Electoral rolls are important because unlike England Wales and Scotland which kept the personal information from the census, unfortunately Australia only kept the statistics, so in some cases the electoral rolls are the only way to prove where somebody was in Australia at a particular time.
The State Library of New South Wales has the electoral rolls until 2008 for all states of Australia.
The Society of Australian Genealogists reported recently that the restrictions that were placed on accessing the current roll in early 2014 has been lifted and that once again family historians can search the current electoral roll at their local AEC offices for genealogical purposes. The electoral rolls at the AEC offices are updated daily and can be searched by name. It is free to search but electronic recording of the data is not allowed.
The years between 2008 and the current are retained by the National Archives of Australia but they are only available to the public after 20 years.
Genealogical societies including the Society of Australian Genealogists were successful in lobbying for the option to have personal data recorded on the census and archived by the National Archives of Australia and released to the public 99 years later for the first time in the 2001 census.
Important information for family historians and researchers in Australia