Opinion Number. 469

Subject

ELECTORAL ENROLMENT CIRCUMSTANCES IN WHICH RESIDENTS OF TERRITORIES MAY BE ENROLLED : WHETHER POLLING PLACES MAY BE APPOINTED IN TERRITORIES

Key Legislation

COMMONWEALTH ELECTORAL ACT 1902-1911, ss. 25, 31

Date
Client
The Minister for Home Affairs

The Minister for Home Affairs has submitted the following questions to me for advice:

  1. Whether polling booths may be appointed under the provisions of the Common-wealth Electoral Act, in the Northern Territory and in the Federal Capital Site Territory; and
  2. Whether the persons resident in these Territories, or either of them, are in any circumstances entitled to be enrolled for any Electoral Division of the Commonwealth.

As regards question (a), I am of opinion that the answer is yes. Under the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1902-1911, polling places are appointed for a Division, but are not necessarily situated within a Division. There may be reasons of convenience and administration which make it desirable that polling places should be in the Division for which they are appointed, but as a matter of law it is not necessary that they should be so.

As regards question (b), I am unable to give any definite opinion, not because the law is not clear, but because the right to enrolment in each case depends on the facts of the case and those facts are not before me. The fact that a person resides in either of the Territories mentioned would not disqualify him from being enrolled as an elector. But in order to be enrolled as an elector for any Division, the person claiming to be enrolled
for the Division must live in the Division for which he claims to be enrolled (see section 31 of the Act). There is a special exception provided in the case of Senators and Members of the House of Representatives, but nothing turns on the exception in re-lation to the present question.

The Northern Territory and the Federal Capital Site Territory are not within any Electoral Division. It is probable therefore that, in the majority of cases, the persons re-siding in those Territories would not be entitled to be enrolled in any Division. But there might be cases in which the residence was partial only, and in those cases the per-sons concerned would, if they could establish that they in fact lived in a Division at the time of claiming enrolment and had so lived for a period of one month, be entitled to enrolment, that is, assuming they were otherwise qualified.

[Vol. 10, p. 319]