E. The Court of Disputed Returns

Extracted from the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918.
360 Powers of Court
(1) The Court of Disputed Returns shall sit as an open Court and its powers shall include the following:
(i) To adjourn;
(ii) To compel the attendance of witnesses and the production of documents;
(iii) To grant to any party to a petition leave to inspect in the presence of a prescribed officer the rolls and other documents (except ballot papers) used at or in connexion with any election and to take, in the presence of the prescribed officer, extracts from those rolls and documents;
(iv) To examine witnesses on oath;
(v) To declare that any person who was returned as elected was not duly elected;
(vi) To declare any candidate duly elected who was not returned as elected;
(vii) To declare any election absolutely void;
(viii) To dismiss or uphold the petition in whole or in part;
(ix) To award costs;
(x) To punish any contempt of its authority by fine or imprisonment.
(2) The Court may exercise all or any of its powers under this section on such grounds as the Court in its discretion thinks just and sufficient.
(3) Without limiting the powers conferred by this section, it is hereby declared that the power of the Court to declare that any person who was returned as elected was not duly elected, or to declare an election absolutely void, may be exercised on the ground that illegal practices were committed in connexion with the election.
(4) The power of the Court of Disputed Returns under paragraph (1)(ix) to award costs includes the power to order costs to be paid by the Commonwealth where the Court considers it appropriate to do so.
[…]
376 Reference of question as to qualification or vacancy
Any question respecting the qualifications of a Senator or of a Member of the House of Representatives or respecting a vacancy in either House of the Parliament may be referred by resolution to the Court of Disputed Returns by the House in which the question arises and the Court of Disputed Returns shall thereupon have jurisdiction to hear and determine the question.
377 President or Speaker to state case
When any question is referred to the Court of Disputed Returns under this Part, the President if the question arises in the Senate, or the Speaker if the question arises in the House of Representatives, shall transmit to the Court of Disputed Returns a statement of the question upon which the determination of the Court is desired, together with any proceedings, papers, reports, or documents relating to the question in the possession of the House in which the question arises.
378 Parties to the reference
The Court of Disputed Returns may allow any person who in the opinion of the Court is interested in the determination of any question referred to it under this Part to be heard on the hearing of the reference, or may direct notice of the reference to be served on any person, and any person so allowed to be heard or so directed to be served shall be deemed to be a party to the reference.
379 Powers of Court
On the hearing of any reference under this Part the Court of Disputed Returns shall sit as an open Court and shall have the powers conferred by section 360 so far as they are applicable, and in addition thereto shall have power:
(a) to declare that any person was not qualified to be a Senator or a Member of the House of Representatives;
(b) to declare that any person was not capable of being chosen or of sitting as a Senator or a Member of the House of Representatives; and
(c) to declare that there is a vacancy in the Senate or in the House of Representatives.
380 Order to be sent to House affected
After the hearing and determination of any reference under this Part the Chief Executive and Principal Registrar of the High Court shall forthwith forward to the Clerk of the House by which the question has been referred a copy of the order or declaration of the Court of Disputed Returns.

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