High Court of Australia

Mulholland v Australian Electoral Commission [2004] HCA 41

220 CLR 181; 78 ALJR 1279; 209 ALR 582

8 Sep 2004

Case Number: M272/2003

Before

Gleeson CJ, McHugh, Gummow, Kirby, Hayne, Callinan, Heydon JJ

Catchwords

Constitutional law (Cth) – Parliament - Elections - Registration of political parties - Requirement that political parties have 500 members in order to become registered or remain registered ("the 500 rule") - Prohibition on one person being counted as a member of two or more parties ("the no-overlap rule") - Constitutional validity of electoral scheme.

Constitutional law (Cth) – Parliament - Elections - House of Representatives and Senate - Members and senators to be "directly chosen by the people" - Meaning of "directly chosen" - Whether the 500 rule and the no-overlap rule impair "direct choice" or the making of an informed choice by electors - Whether the 500 rule and the no-overlap rule unreasonably discriminate between candidates - Whether inconsistent with constitutional provision for filling of casual vacancies by persons "publicly recognized by a particular political party".

Constitutional law (Cth) – Implied freedom of political communication - Whether the 500 rule and the no-overlap rule effectively burden freedom of communication about government or political matters - Whether laws reasonably appropriate and adapted to a legitimate purpose - Whether laws proportionate to constitutional provisions.

Constitutional law (Cth) – Implied freedoms - Whether the Constitution contains an implied freedom of political association - Whether the Constitution contains an implied freedom of participation in federal elections - Whether the Constitution contains an implied freedom of political privacy - Whether the 500 rule and the no-overlap rule infringe any such implied freedoms.

Words and phrases – "directly chosen by the people".

Constitution – ss 7, 15, 24, 64 and 128.

Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918 (Cth) – Pt XI.

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