Australie: L'évolution du droit de vote - chronologie
Australia: The Franchise ‘Right to Vote’ Timetable

source: Australian Electoral Commission Media Release: 16 September 1998 Copyright Commonwealth of Australia 2000

On October 3 over 12 million Australians will be eligible to vote in the 1998 federal election.

In Australia, citizens have the right and responsibility to enrol and vote when they each the age of eighteen years. In fact is it compulsory to do so.

But is hasn’t always been so - compulsory enrolment wasn’t introduced until 1911 and compulsory voting wasn’t introduced until 1924.

For one quarter of the history of white settlement in Australia nobody voted, and this was for the simple fact that there were no parliaments to vote for.

The first parliamentary elections were in 1843 for the New South Wales Legislative Council. But this was an election that not everyone could vote in – only men with land valued at 200 pounds or a house worth 20 pounds annually had the right to vote.

For the rest of the century following this election, and even for a time before, there were long struggles over who could vote and what they could vote for. These movements to increase the franchise gained notable victories in the years following the first election in Australia.

In 1856 the right to vote was granted to all male British subjects over the age of 21 in South Australia. The other States followed in the years between 1857 and 1896.

South Australia again led the way when in 1894 women over 21 were given the right to vote. The other States granted women this right in the years between 1899 and 1908.

By 1902 most men and women were able to vote at federal elections. However, what were referred to as ‘Aboriginal natives’ of Australia, Asia, Africa or the Pacific Islands were excluded from enrolment and voting.

In 1903 the first federal election under federal law was held with a 46.86% voter turnout. In 1925 the first federal election with compulsory voting was held with 91.31% voter turnout.

It was 1949 when Aboriginal people were given the right to enrol and vote at federal elections, and then only as long as they were entitled to enrol for State elections or had served in the defence forces. In 1962 voluntary enrolment and voting at federal elections was extended to all Aboriginal people.

In 1973 the qualifying age for enrolment, voting and candidature for all federal elections was lowered from 21 to 18.

It was in 1984 that enrolment and voting were made compulsory for Aboriginal people.

It was also in 1984 that the qualifications to be eligible to vote was changed to Australian citizenship. Now the only non-Australian citizens entitled to enrol and vote are those British subjects who were on the electoral roll on 25 January 1984, the time at which the eligibility changed.