Flagpost is a blog on current issues of interest to members of the Australian Parliament

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A close-run thing: the narrowest of margins [UPDATED]

The Australian Electoral Commission has announced that the electorate of Fairfax will proceed to a formal recount in the 2013 federal election. Clive Palmer (Palmer United Party) leads with a margin of seven votes following the full distribution of preferences. Just how unusual is this outcome, and how many other close results have there been in Australian electoral history?The closest recent result was in the Victorian seat of McEwen in the 2007 federal election, where the full recount altered the result from a six vote win for Rob Mitchell (ALP) to a 12 vote victory for Fran Bailey (Liberal). A subsequent challenge in the Court of Disputed Returns further increased Fran Bailey's lead to 3... Read more...

Federal election 2013: How safe is your seat?

The “safeness” of an electoral division is determined by the size of the swing required for the division to be lost by the party (or independent) holding the division. A marginal division requires a swing of less than six per cent, a fairly safe division requires a swing of six to ten per cent and a safe division requires a swing of over ten per cent. This FlagPost details the most up-to-date information on those divisions that are marginal and fairly safe. Those seats that are considered safe have been excluded from this post.The size of each electorate is determined by population. To ensure equal representation, the boundaries of these divisions have to be redrawn or redistributed periodic... Read more...

110th anniversary of the Commonwealth Franchise Act 1902

Tuesday 12 June 2012 marks the 110th anniversary of the Commonwealth Franchise Act 1902, the law that granted most Australian women the right to vote, and therefore to stand, in Commonwealth elections. The Act stated that ‘all persons not under twenty-one years of age whether male or female married or unmarried’ would be entitled to vote in Commonwealth elections. It excluded Indigenous men and women, unless they were eligible to vote under state laws in accordance with Section 41 of the Australian Constitution. Across Australia, women voted for the first time in the second Commonwealth election held on 16 December 1903. Women in South Australia (who were granted voting rights in 1895) and W... Read more...

Celebrating the 50th anniversary of Indigenous federal voting rights

It is 100 years since the right and responsibility to enrol to vote became enshrined in Australian law and 50 years since all Indigenous Australians became entitled to vote in federal elections. (Some, but not all, adult Indigenous Australians, were able to vote prior to 1962.) Celebrations are in order.  In March 1962 the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918 was amended to enable Indigenous people to enrol to vote in federal elections, but it was not compulsory for them to enrol. It was made an offence for anyone to use undue influence or pressure to induce them to enrol. Once they enrolled, however, voting was compulsory. The story of Indigenous enfranchisement is a long and complex one. There ... Read more...