The Constitutionality of Australia's Compulsory Voting System



Electoral law has been the subject of several High Court decisions in recent years, and this jurisprudence, as well as some of the political science literature, is canvassed here. I argue that there are serious constitutional question marks over Australia's system of “compulsory voting”. There are two particular constitutional arguments against “compulsory voting”. Firstly it infringes the implied freedom of political communication which the High Court has recognised since 1992. Secondly, it is inconsistent with the right to vote recognised by the High Court as being implicit in s7 and s24 of the Constitution. On this basis citizens entitled to vote should have the freedom not to do so (as is the case in many other representative democracies in which voting is voluntary).