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Faculty of Law Twilight Seminar -"Voting Rights of Expatriates and the Australian Constitution"

You are invited to attend: Faculty of Law Twilight Seminar

“Voting Rights of Expatriates and the Australian Constitution“  with Professor Anthony Gray

Date: Monday 1 July 2024
Time: 5.00pm-6.30pm
(The seminar will commence at 5.30pm with light refreshments being offered from 5pm)
Venue: 4_3_37

The Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918 (Cth) limits voting rights of an Australian citizen voting overseas.  That right generally expires after six years' absence from Australia (subject to extension).  This provision affects hundreds of thousands of Australian citizens.  It is potentially at odds with the seriousness with which the High Court takes the universality of the adult franchise, reflected in decisions like Roach v Electoral Commissioner and Rowe v Electoral Commissioner.  The Court insisted denial of adult suffrage be for a substantial reason, and proportionate to a legitimate objective, to be valid.  This presentation argues denial of the vote to expatriate Australians may not pass these tests.

The presentation also considers an alternative - parliament might pass a law stripping citizenship from long-term expatriates, thus severing their right to vote, typically linked with citizenship.  It argues there is significant doubt whether a head of power supports such a law.  Even if there is, if a Minister were to exercise such a power, it might amount to punishment, and infringe Chapter III of the Constitution, given the decisions in Alexander v Minister for Home Affairs, and Benbrika v Minister for Home Affairs.  This presentation is based on an article the presenter published in (2024) 49(3) Monash University Law Review (Adv).

Please note that the paper has been published online, in advance of hard copy publication.

Professor Anthony Gray

Anthony Gray staff headshot

Professor Anthony Gray is a Professor within the Faculty of Law at Bond University.  He has published approximately 150 refereed research articles, and has authored numerous monographs.  His work has been cited by the High Court of Australia, Supreme Court of the United Kingdom and Supreme Court of Canada.

Please register your attendance by 5pm Friday, 21 June 2024.

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