I just read that the High Court is hearing a Constitutional challenge to those provisions of the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918 (Cth) which prevent a person who is serving a sentence of imprisonment from voting (namely ss 93(8AA), 208(2)(c) and 221(3)).
Now that’s an interesting legal question in and of itself. But it gets even more interesting when you read the transcript of the hearing:
MR MERKEL: … I was going to say under section 93(8AA) the amending legislation defines “sentence of imprisonment”. That is at page 7. This was also a significant amendment because prior to this amendment there was a question about whether home detention or parole would be caught by the disqualification. So this amendment made it clear that you had to be in detention on a full-time basis. So that is in the extrinsic materials. So there was no question if someone on parole or on home detention would not be caught by the disqualification and that comes out as a result of that definition.
Can I take your Honours next to Part VIII of the Act starting at page 122 dealing with – – –
KIRBY J: So Paris Hilton would now be disqualified, but last week for a short time she would have been entitled to vote?
MR MERKEL: Yes, your Honour, and she would have been entitled if she were in Australia and an Australian citizen to be standing here unburdened by the five-year point at least.
KIRBY J: I just wanted you to know that I follow these things.
(Via Larvatus Prodeo)
What a hip cat that Kirby J is! Just check out his efforts as a rapper recently:
(Photo via Sydney Morning Herald)
Well, perhaps I should qualify that. He’s not always quite so down and jiggy wid’ it… Check out this beautiful little snippet of transcript from 2002, involving a case about contributory negligence and drink driving.
CALLINAN J: Mr Jackson, it seems to me that clearly the people at the party, including Ms Joslyn and Mr Berryman, went out with the intention of getting drunk.
MR JACKSON: It would be a big night, your Honour, big night.
CALLINAN J: With the intention of getting drunk and they fulfilled that intention.
MR JACKSON: Well, your Honour, young people sometimes – – –
KIRBY J: I just think “drunk” is a label and I am a little worried about – it is not necessary to put that label. It is just that they were sufficiently affected by alcohol to affect their capacity to drive.
MR JACKSON: Yes.
KIRBY J: “A drunk” has all sorts of baggage with it.
HAYNE J: Perhaps “hammered” is the more modern expression, Mr Jackson, or “well and truly hammered”.
MR JACKSON: I am indebted to your Honour.
KIRBY J: I do not know any of these expressions.
McHUGH J: No, no. Justice Hayne must live a very different life to the sort of life we lead.
KIRBY J: I have never heard that word “hammered” before, never. Not before this very minute.