As our readers will be aware, the 42nd Australian Parliament was
prorogued and the House of Representatives dissolved at 5pm on
Monday, 19 July 2010 and writs issued for a general election, which
was held on Saturday, 21 August 2010. In accordance with the
provisions of the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918 (Cth)
(the Act), the Electoral Commissioner was
prevented from considering claims for enrolment or transfer of
enrolment lodged after 8pm on 19 July 2010 until after the close of
On 26 July 2010, proceedings were commenced in the Melbourne
Registry of the High Court by Shannen Alyce Rowe and Douglas
Stewart Thompson seeking a declaration that those provisions of the
Act effecting cut-off dates for consideration of applications for
enrolment and transfers of enrolment as an elector were invalid
(Rowe & Anor v Electoral Commissioner & Anor, No
M101 of 2010). The provisions under challenge were introduced into
the Act by the Electoral and Referendum Amendment (Electoral
Integrity and Other Measures) Act 2006 (Cth).
The proceeding was referred to the Full Court by Justice Hayne
on 29 July 2010 and argument on the application was heard on an
expedited basis by the Full Court on 4 and 5 August 2010. On 6
August 2010, the High Court declared that the provisions under
challenge were invalid.
Following the decision, the Australian Electoral Commission
(AEC) issued a statement acknowledging that the
decision allowed additional eligible voters to be entitled to vote
in the general election. The claims of voters who had submitted
correctly completed claims for enrolment after 8pm on Monday, 19
July 2010 but before 8pm on Monday, 26 July 2010 were processed by
the AEC to enable those voters to vote in the general election.
At the time of finalising this edition, the High Court was yet
to hand down its reasons for decision. We will provide a further
update on those reasons in our forthcoming edition.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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Because of the high costs, royal commissions should only be convened to address issues of substantial public importance.
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