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Mallesons act for GetUp! in High Court challenge

Mallesons act for GetUp! in High Court challenge

Mallesons Stephen Jaques is acting pro bono for the political activist group GetUp! in its High Court challenge to the Electoral Act.

GetUp! launched the challenge after amendments to the Electoral Act by the Howard Government in 2006 meant that electoral rolls closed at 8pm on the day election writs were issued. Prospective voters had up to one week to enroll to vote or change their details with the Electoral Commission previously.

GetUp! believes the amendments greatly prejudice the ability of various groups, including young Australians, Indigenous Australians, migrants and poor Australians to register to vote.

"These laws exclude otherwise eligible voters, violate the right to vote and diminish our representative democracy," GetUp! national director Simon Sheikh said.

Melbourne based partner Robert Cooper is one of the senior Mallesons lawyers involved. An IT and IP expert, Cooper is also the firm's responsible partner in Melbourne for its Human Rights Law Group. Ron Merkel QC is also acting for GetUp!

Figures released by the Australian Electoral Commission last month showed that just over 85,000 people were able to enroll after the current federal election was called.

It is estimated that as many as 1.4 million Australians are missing from the electoral roll.

The hearing was due to be heard before a full bench of the High Court at 10.15am today, with a judgment expected shortly afterwards.

>> What do the election promises mean for lawyers? Click here to read the latest legal-related election news

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