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High Court Unanimously Dismisses Challenge To Senate Voting Changes

The High Court has unanimously dismissed a challenge to the recently legislated Senate voting changes.

The seven Justices dismissed two applications, including one by South Australian Family First Senator Bob Day.

The changes abolished group voting tickets and introduced optional preferential voting above and below the line.

The court held that the term “method” in Section 9 of the Constitution “is to be considered broadly, allowing for more than one way of indicating choice within a single uniform electoral system”.


Former senators Bob Day and David Leyonhjelm outside the High Court, following today’s decision – ABC picture posted on Twitter

In its summary of the decision, the Court: “…further held that a vote above the line was a direct vote for individual candidates consistent with Section 7 of the Constitution. Finally, there was no disenfranchisement in the legal effect of the voting process and there was no infringement of the implied freedom of political communication or the system of representative government.”

The Court’s full decision is adamant in its dismissal of all aspects of the argument put by the plaintiffs. It awarded costs against them.

The summary of the Court’s decision is shown below, as is the full decision.

  • Watch Bob Day and David Leyonhjelm (5m)
  • Listen to Day and Leyonhjelm (5m)
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Malcolm Farnsworth
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