Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918

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The Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918 replaced the Commonwealth Franchise Act 1902 which defined who was allowed to vote in Australian federal elections. The Commonwealth Electoral Act comprehensively rewrote the Commonwealth Franchise Act and introduced instant-runoff voting, known in Australia as preferential voting. Preferential voting, which was pioneered by Queensland in 1892, replaced first-past-the-post voting.[1] The 1918 Act is still the core legislation governing the conduct of elections in Australia, having been amended on numerous occasions since 1918.[2]

Compulsory voting at federal elections was introduced in 1924 (compulsory enrolment had been in force since 1912).[3] The single transferable vote was introduced for the Senate in 1949. Indigenous Australians acquired the right to vote at federal elections in 1962.[1] The qualifying voting age was lowered to 18 in 1973.

In 1984 the Australian House of Representatives was expanded by 24 seats and the Australian Senate by 12 seats. A Senate ticket voting system was introduced and the grace period after an election is called before the electoral rolls are closed was extended to seven days.[1]


  1. ^ a b c "Australia's major electoral developments Timeline: 1900 - Present". Australian Electoral Commission. Retrieved 2013-06-28. 
  2. ^ "Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918". Commonwealth Consolidated Acts. Australasian Legal Information Institute. Retrieved 2013-06-26. 
  3. ^ "Compulsory Voting". Australian Electoral Commission. Retrieved 2013-06-28. 

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