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Democratic Audit Update August 2010

By Democratic Audit
Created 09/08/2010 - 14:38

by Democratic Audit Australia [0]

The latest update from the Democratic Audit program at Swinburne University of Technology, Melbourne, on how our democracy is working.


Democratic Audit of Australia Update – August 2010

High Court opens up voting rights debate

GetUp! has scored an unexpected victory in the High Court, giving an extra 100,000 people a chance to vote on 21 August and opening up the debate about the right to vote, writes the Audit’s Graeme Orr in an analysis of the decision and its implications in Inside Story [1]. GetUp!’s second case – contesting the AEC’s decision not to accept online enrolments using ‘digital’ signatures – goes to the Federal Court this week.

Victoria adopts automatic enrolment

The Victorian Legislative Council has passed the Electoral Amendment (Electoral Participation) Bill 2010, which introduces automatic electoral enrolment for all school students on their eighteenth birthdays, and allows election-day enrolment for everyone else. While the Coalition opposed this bill, which was passed by the ALP and Greens, it is similar to one passed recently in New South Wales with the support of all parties. Rob Hoffman discuss the new arrangements in the Age [2]. More details are available in the Parliamentary Library Research Service’s research brief [3] on the legislation.

Women and the 2010 election

In a new Audit discussion paper, Candidate Gender in the 2010 Australian Federal Election [4], Tony Smith compares the recently announced list of candidates for this month’s federal election with the candidates standing in 2007. He finds that despite a modest rise in the number of women candidates, the representation of women in federal parliament could go backwards at this election.

Constitutional recognition of Aboriginal people

In this research report [5], Gareth Griffith from the NSW Parliamentary Library and Research Service examines the NSW government’s proposal to amend the Constitution Act 1902 (NSW) by the insertion of a new section 2A honouring and recognising the unique historical position of Aboriginal people.

Electoral reform bills – correction: In the last newsletter we mentioned that the Parliamentary Library had released digests of three bills amending the Commonwealth Electoral Act. In fact, two of the Bills had been passed by the Senate. The digests examine the Electoral and Referendum Amendment (How-to-Vote Cards and Other Measures) Bill [6], the Electoral and Referendum Amendment (Modernisation and Other Measures) Bill [7], which were proclaimed last month, and the Electoral and Referendum Amendment (Close of Rolls and Other Measures) Bill (No. 2) [8], which has not been passed by the Senate.

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