You’ve got to love Australian election lawyers

Whoever wrote Section 245(1) of the 1918 Commonwealth Electoral Act, I salute you.

PenguinsNot only did you add in a provision that the legal obligation to vote in Australian elections does not apply to people who are not qualified to vote, you also added in a provision that being dead is a legally acceptable reason not to vote.

A triumph of legal generosity.

And now, excuse me whilst I go and read Part XVII, “Special Provisions Relating To The Polling In Antarctica”. (I want to find out how to become an Assistant Antarctic Returning Officer.)

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3 Comments

  • Well strangely enough I have voted in Antarctica, and the polling officer (or what ever the official title is) are chosen and trained up in Tassie before we go South.

    So all you need is a trade, or another qualification for working in Antarctica, and you to can be the polling officer, the postie, and numerous other important functions 😉

  • But what happens if you die after the polls open, but before they close?
    Or if you die soon after they close, and have not voted? Is your estate fined?

  • David Wright 21st Dec '10 - 11:58pm

    This reminds me of when I lived in Belgium in the early 1970’s – another country where voting is compulsory. There was a General Election, which I largely ignored. Later that month the local policeman called on me, and we had this somewhat bizarre conversation:
    “You did not vote in the election”, he said, “I am required to ask you whether you have a valid reason for not voting”.
    “I am not a Belgian citizen, and I am not entitled to vote in your elections”, I answered. “That is correct”, he said, made a mark on what I took to be a list of non-voters, and happily went on his way.
    I should point out that he already knew I was a foreigner and could not vote, as I’d had to apply for a residence permit, and he had called on me to check that I was living at the address I was registered at, (this was before Britain joined the EC and we gained the right to live there).

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