GetUp! Wins Landmark High Court Challenge
6 August 2010 at 2:51 pm
Not for Profit political advocacy group GetUp! has won its bid to have the Electoral Act amended, with the High Court ordering that 100,000 people to be added to the electoral roll before the August 21 election.
Up to 100,000 Australians will be added to the electoral rolls after the full bench of the High Court found in favour of GetUp’s challenge of the constitutional validity of Howard Government changes to the act.
GetUp! had challenged the Howard Government amendments to the Electoral Act that stipulated that the electoral rolls close to new enrolments at 8pm the same day election writs are issued, with 3 days given for updating address details.
Prior to this amendment in 2006, Australians had 7 days to enrol or update enrolment details after writs were issued.
GetUp! National Director Simon Sheikh had previously slammed the laws, saying the excluded otherwise eligible voters, violated the right to vote and diminished representative democracy.
According to GetUp!, the Australian Electoral Commission has 150 staff on standby to inform the 100,000 Australians affected by the ruling that they are eligible to vote in the August 21 poll.
The AEC estimates that 100,000 people attempted to enrol in the week after the rolls were closed.
The challenge was brought before the High Court by two GetUp! members, Shannen Rowe and Douglas Thompson, after they both were unable to be correctly enrolled for the election.
Research by GetUp! found that the Howard Government's changes to the Act unfairly affected young people. 1.4 million Australians are missing from the electoral roll, of which 70% are between the ages of 18 and 39. Almost 45% of 18 year olds are not enrolled to vote.
In a statement, the High Court says it will publish its reasons for its decision at a later date.