The Constitutionality of Australia's Compulsory Voting System
Article first published online: 13 DEC 2012
© 2012 The Author. Australian Journal of Politics and History © 2012 School of History, Philosophy, Religion and Classics, School of Political Science and International Studies, The University of Queensland and Wiley Publishing Asia Pty Ltd.
Australian Journal of Politics & History
Volume 58, Issue 4, pages 591–608, December 2012
How to Cite
Gray, A. (2012), The Constitutionality of Australia's Compulsory Voting System. Australian Journal of Politics & History, 58: 591–608. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-8497.2012.01655.x
- Issue published online: 13 DEC 2012
- Article first published online: 13 DEC 2012
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).