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date: 16 November 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter deals with electoral participation in Australia. It charts the evolution of constitutional law in relation to electoral participation through a focus on the power of the Commonwealth Parliament over federal elections. A starting point of the analysis is a distinction between an emphasis on the breadth of legislative power over federal elections and an emphasis on constraint. The chapter also explains how particular emphasis on the scope of legislative power over election is informed by views taken on the relationship between the legislative power over federal elections and its impact on Australia's democracy. In some cases, it is possible to identify a benign view of such power; in others, a contrary view can be found where the exercise of legislative power over federal elections is seen to threaten Australia's democracy; and of course, there are cases where there is simply an ‘agnostic’ view.

Keywords: electoral participation, political participation, federal elections, Commonwealth Parliament, legislative power, Australia's democracy

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