1 correction by anonymous - Show corrections
ENROLMENT OF ASIATICS.
SUCCESSFUL TEST CASE.
Action Against Commonwealth.
An importaant decision affecting the rights of Asiatics to have their names in- cluded on the Commonwealth roll was
announced by Mr. R. Cohen, P.M., in the District Court yesterday, when Mitta Bullosh of Berkeley street, Carlton, a native of India, and a natural born subject of Great Britain, proceeded against C. E. A. Miller, Commonwealth divisional returning officer and electoral registrar for Carlton. Bullosh claimed that, under section 41 of the Constitution he was entitled to en- rolment on both State and Commonwealth rolls. Mr. F. E. Bateman appeared for Bul-
losh and Mr. Russell Martin (instructcd by the Commonwealth Crown solicitor) represented the registrar.
Mr. Bateman said that Bullosh, who had arrived in Melbourne in 1882, had recently made application to Mr C. E. A. Miller, electoral registrar, that his name be placed on the roll under the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918-22, for the Carlton South subdivision of the division of Melbourne, but his application had been refused. Sec- tion 39(5) of the Commonwealth Electoral Act, on which the refusal had been based and which excluded all aboriginal natives of Australia and Asia from the right of enrolment, was contrary, he held, to sec- tion 41 of the Constitution. That section of the Constitution provided that any adult person who had, or had aquired the right to vote at an election for a State Lower House should not, while that right con- tinued, be prevented from voting for either branch of the Commonwealth Legislature.
it was contended by Mr. Martin that the rejection was legal on two grounds, (a) that Bululosh was not on the State roll when the application was made, and there- fore could not be placed on the Common- wealth roll, and (b) that section 41 should be read in conjunction with other sections of the Constitution, which modified its effects. There must he, he said, uniformity in the laws throughout the whole of Aus- ralia.
Mr Cohen, P.M., announcing his deci- sion, said that he was guided largely by the dictum of Mr. Justice Higgins in the case of Muramats versus Way, decided by the High Court in Western Australia in September 1923. Mr. Justice Higgins, in that case, said that Muramats had not established the fact that he had a right to vote under section 41 of the Constitution, and therefore could not claim Common- wealth enrolment by virtue of section 41.
Under section 39(5) of the Electoral Act no aboriginal native of Australia and Asia was entitled to have his name placed on the Commonwealth roll to vote unless he was so entitled under section 41 of the Consti-
tution. In Western Australia, continued Mr. Cohen, there was a State law which prevented Asiatics from voting for the State; but inVictoria no such law existed. He would make an order that Bullosh's name be placed on the Commonwealth roll as an elector.
On the application of Mr. Martin, a stay of 14 days was granted. It is understood that an appeal will be made to the High