Documenting Democracy
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Commonwealth documents
Commonwealth Electoral Act 1924 (Cth)
Commonwealth Electoral Act 1924 (Cth), cover
Commonwealth Electoral Act 1924 (Cth), p1
Commonwealth Electoral Act 1924 (Cth), p2
Commonwealth Electoral Act 1924 (Cth), p3
This document, signed by the Governor-General on 10 October 1924, alters the original Commonwealth Electoral Act by making voting compulsory and establishing penalties for failure to vote. This is a founding document, with the Commonwealth Franchise Act 1902, defining the terms on which Australians vote.
This document made Australia one of the few nations in which voting is both a right and a duty. The Act, proposed by the Chief Electoral Officer after the fourth Federal election in 1910, originated as a private member's Bill. It was supported by the Bruce–Page Coalition Government and also by the Opposition, and passed speedily through Parliament.

This was an amendment to the original Commonwealth Electoral Act of 1902 which set up the machinery for federal elections by:

  • establishing the offices of Chief Electoral Officer and Commonwealth Electoral Officers for each State

  • making arrangements for dividing states into electoral divisions

  • establishing polling places, electoral rolls, revision courts and returning officers

  • arranging for issuing writs for elections, nominating candidates, postal voting, the poll, scrutiny of counting of votes

  • making special provisions for Senate and House of Representative elections

  • arranging return of writs

  • setting limits of electoral expenses; and

  • defining offences and penalties and disputed returns
This document has one folded sheet, forming four pages (fourth page blank), fixed inside a paper cover with blue ribbon, with the Royal Arms. The signatures are on p.1 and p.3.

The Clerk of the Senate and the President signed this Bill.

The Clerk of the Senate and the President signed this Bill.

Long Title:An Act to amend the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918–1922 for the purpose of making provision for Compulsory Voting (No. 10 of 1924)
No. of pages:4 + cover (page 4 blank)
Measurements:29.2 x 22.3 cm
Provenance:The Senate
Features:Signature of President of the Senate on page 1; Assent block on page 3
Location & Copyright:National Archives of Australia
Reference:NAA: A1559, 1924/10