Elections Down Under

Next Saturday, Australians will go to the polls, as is their legal obligation, to elect a new federal government. The Australian Broadcasting Commission web site provides extensive election coverage. Antony Green’s Election Guide answers many questions someone from Up Over might have about Australian politics and government.

Compulsory Voting
The Australian Parliamentary Library has produced an excellent Research Brief about compulsory voting in Australia. It covers the history of compulsory voting, mentions other countries that have some form of compulsory voting, and provides comparative voter turnout tables for other countries, including the U.S.A.
The Australian Electoral Commission web site publishes an Electoral Backgrounder on compulsory voting, providing an introduction to Australian electoral law, policy, and procedures.

Australian Prisoners and the Vote
Also of interest is a recent High Court of Australia case in which the Court restored the right to vote to prisoners having sentences of less than three years. Read Roach v. Electoral Commissioner [2007] HCA 43 here; read about it here.

According to the Sentencing Project “an estimated 5.3 million Americans are denied the right to vote because of laws that prohibit voting by people with felony convictions,” including those no longer in prison.

Are you wondering if the High Court is the Australian equivalent to our United States Supreme Court? Check out our online Guide: Researching Australian Law.

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