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Oz legislation

the strike and the cross

1856 Tasmanian Electoral Act

Talented Mr Boothby

Wakefield and ballot


The Australian Ballot

Secret ballot - not an Australian first
360kb PDF
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AEC links



Australian Dictionary
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Enrolling the People


The Development of Modern Electoral Administration
a postgraduate project of the ANU and the Electoral Council of Australia 
funded by a grant (no: LP0453987) from the Australian Research Council 

South Australia's 1856 ballots

One common misconception about William Robinson Boothby is that he wrote the ballot clauses of the 1856 act. In fact, as far as I can tell he had nothing to do with that act and his position of returning officer for the province was ten months away from being created when the act was passed.

It was his 1858 act that was important. The SA 1856 bill initially had a pretty generic secret ballot clause, of the sort that was then in use in France and parts of America - voters brought along their own bits of paper, and the main difference between in and open voting was that they didn't put their own name on it

1856: Original South Australian secret ballot clause


The SA legislators probably hadn't heard of Chapman's Victorian ballot, as it had only just been introduced into the Victorian Legislative Council. But on 21 February that clause was amended, substituted for the 'Chapman-esque' one - government supplying ballot paper etc - which is below:

1856: Final South Australian secret ballot clause


Things moved at a quick pace in early 1856.