The Australian Electoral Commission's attack on Informal's name
an epistolary account
1: from Graham Hyde, Divisional Returning Officer for Denison, to Informal
2: from Informal to Graham Hyde
[addressed to the name Informal last used in January 1992]
Dear Mr [former surname]
YOUR ENROLLED NAME
I am writing to advise you that I have removed the name, Informal, from the Commonwealth Electoral Roll and replaced it with the name under which you were previously enrolled, [former name], because I consider the name Informal to be inappropriate. I have taken this action in accordance with the transitional provisions of the recently enacted Electoral and Referendum Amendment Act (No. 1) 2001 (the Amendment Act).
The Amendment Act was proclaimed on 16 July 2001 and amends the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918 (the Act) by inserting new sections 93A and 98A. These sections empower a Divisional Returning Officer (DRO), or an Australian Electoral Officer (AEO), to refuse to include in the Roll names that they consider to be inappropriate. Names that may be considered to be inappropriate include those that are:
• fictitious, frivolous, offensive or obscene; or
A Divisional Returning Officer or Australian Electoral Officer may also refuse to include a person's name in a Roll if including the name in the Roll would be contrary to the public interest.
These new provisions were inserted into the Act because there has been an increasing tendency towards people using names which have electoral and political, and in some cases commercial, significance for enrolment and nomination. The placement of enrolled electors on the electoral roll or candidates names on ballot papers, was never intended to give electors or candidates free publicity for the particular cause they espouse or business that they run. This is more appropriately done through advertising or the distribution of how-to-vote material.
The new provisions allow for the refusal of names which are designed to confuse the public, such as those using the word independent or the name of another organisation or body. DROs and AEOs now also have the discretion to determine whether allowing an elector to enrol under a particular name would be contrary to the public interest.
The transitional provisions of the Amendment Act further provide that where a name has been included on a Roll prior to the date of effect of the above amendments, that is prior to 16 July 2001, and the person so enrolled has previously been enrolled under another name, the DRO or AEO may remove the name from the Roll and replace it with the name under which the person was previously enrolled. It is under this provision that I have taken the action of removing your name from the Roll.
I consider the name Informal to be frivolous or contrary to the public interest and therefore to be inappropriate.
If you do not agree with this decision, you have a right to request that I refer the matter to the Australian Electoral Officer for Tasmania for review. Such a request must be made in writing within 28 days from the date of this letter and sent to me at the above address.
12 October, 2001
Greetings from Informal
I refer to the letter which you sent to me on 12 October (which I accidentally though fortuitously opened ere I noticed its erroneous address) titled "your enrolled name" (Ref. No: D7).
Anyway, I shall, next week, send by e-mail a more detailed response to your letter, and I should be grateful if you would send further messages to my e-mail address, which is: firstname.lastname@example.org.
7 November 2001
7 November 2001
edited by Informal
last updated, 9 November, 2001
Words within square brackets (except when they mark directions within a dialogue) mark editorial matter.