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§ 79. “Times and Places of Elections of Senators.”

This sub-section further strengthens the control of the States over the election of senators. The Parliament of a State may, by legislation, determine the times when, upon the occasions arising under the Constitution, elections of senators for the State shall take place; it may also determine the places at which polling booths for the reception of votes for the election of senators shall be held. These powers are permanently and exclusively vested in the States. The election of senators will, of course, take place on the occurrence of the events prescribed by the Constitution, such as the triennial election of senators, when half the number of senators retire according to the process of rotation defined by section 13; and such as a general election of the Senate following a dissolution thereof under section 57. Under a similar section in the American Constitution it has been held that when the legislature of a State has failed to “prescribe the times, places and manner” of holding elections, the Governor may, in case of a vacancy, designate in his writ of election the time and place, when and where such election will be held; but that a reasonable time should be allowed for the promulgation of the notice. (Hoge's Case, Cl. and Hall [U.S.], 135; cited Baker Annot. Const. 6.)

Application of State laws.

10. Until the Parliament otherwise provides, but subject to this Constitution, the laws in force in each State, for the time being, relating to elections80 for the more numerous House of the Parliament of the State shall, as nearly as practicable, apply to elections of senators for the State.

HISTORICAL NOTE.—At the Adelaide session, the following words (taken from the corresponding clause of the Commonwealth Bill of 1891, relating to the House of Representatives) were introduced as paragraph 2 of the preceding clause:—

“Until such determination, and unless the Parliament of the Commonwealth otherwise provides, the laws in force in the several States for the time being, relating to the following matters, namely: The manner of conducting the elections for the more numerous House of the Parliament of the State, the proceedings at such elections, returning officers, the periods during which elections may be continued, and offences against the laws regulating such elections, shall, as nearly as practicable, apply to elections in the several States of members of the Senate.” (Conv. Deb., Adel., pp. 674-6.)

At the Sydney session, a suggestion by both Houses of the Parliament of Tasmania, to omit “and unless the Parliament of the Commonwealth otherwise provides,” so as to make the power of the States permanent, was negatived. (Conv. Deb., Syd., 1897, pp. 988-9.)

At the Melbourne session, the paragraph was omitted, with a view to placing the provision as to both Houses in a single clause (44 AA). (Conv. Deb., Melb., pp. 1827, 1855.) After the fourth report, however, it was determined to deal with each House separately; the clause was restored in shorter and more general terms, and clause 44 AA was omitted. (See also sec. 31.)




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