Topic: The Universal Franchise: The Protection of Voting Rights under the Australian Constitution

Presenter: Lorraine Finlay

Advisors: Prof James Allan, Prof Nick Aroney

Time: Friday, 15 May; 1.30-2.00pm

Zoom link:


My PhD research is examining voting rights under the Australian Constitution and, in particular, considering the extent to which the universal franchise is constitutionally protected.  An important aspect of this research is to trace the historical development of voting rights in Australia, with a focus on the franchise at the time of Federation. 

The universal franchise, as the concept is understood today, simply did not exist in any of the colonies around the time of Federation.  Moreover, the franchise varied significantly across the different colonies.  The effect that this had on the drafting of the Australian Constitution, and the extent to which this history is relevant when interpreting the Constitution in the present-day, will be the focus of this presentation.