Opinion Number. 257

Subject

ELECTORAL ENROLMENT WHETHER EXTENDED BUT TEMPORARY ABSENCE FROM PLACE OF LIVING JUSTIFIES STRIKING NAME OFF ROLL

Key Legislation

COMMONWEALTH ELECTORAL ACTS 1902-1905, s. 69

Date
Client
The Secretary, Department of Home Affairs

The Chief Electoral Officer has asked the following question:

In cases where a soldier is absent on military duty from the Corio Division for from one to six months within the knowledge of the Registrar, is this officer justified in lodging an objection under section 69 on the ground that he is not residing in the Division of Corio, and is the Divisional Returning Officer justified in striking the name objected to off the Roll in view of an answer to the objection that the elector is only temporarily absent from Corio?

The question has been referred to me for advice.

I am of opinion that the answer to the question depends upon whether the absence of the soldier from Queenscliff is intended to be temporary or permanent. If as a fact a soldier is stationed at Queenscliff as his headquarters but is sent to other places from time to time, his absence would be temporary and Queenscliff would be his place of living, notwithstanding that he might be away for six months or even more. If a resident of Melbourne were to pay a visit to Europe, Melbourne would continue to be his place of living although he might be absent for a considerable period.

I am of opinion-

  1. that the Registrar would not be justified in objecting to a person being retained on the Roll on the ground that he did not live in the Division if he, the Registrar, was satisfied that the absence was only temporary;
  2. that the Returning Officer would not be justified in striking a person's name off the Roll on the ground that he did not live in the Division if he, the Returning Officer, was satisfied that the absence was only temporary.

[Vol. 5, p. 345]