Who owns the right to vote

Sophia Wrightman made this Freedom of Information request to Australian Electoral Commission

Australian Electoral Commission did not have the information requested.

From: Sophia Wrightman

Delivered

Dear Australian Electoral Commission,

For the purposes of the FOI Act I am seeking documentation on ownership of the right to vote. Please provide any documentation that addresses specifically who holds ownership of the right to vote according to the AEC guidelines.

If such a record is not held by the AEC, please let me know how I might obtain it and from whom.

Yours faithfully,

Sophia Wrightman

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Australian Electoral Commission

Thank you for contacting us.

This is an automatic response from the Australian Electoral Commission to confirm we have received your email.

For more information on enrolling to vote, federal elections or the AEC, visit www.aec.gov.au.

Please do not respond to this email.

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From: Paul Pirani
Australian Electoral Commission

For-Official-Use-Only

Dear Ms Wrightman

The AEC will not be responding to any further emails from you on this matter. You were previously placed on notice about this in my email to you of 25 November 2013.

The issue you now attempt to raise was clearly addressed in the previous communications with you from the AEC. The legal rights and obligations on voting was explained in the Supreme Court decision in Holmdahl v AEC (No.2) [2012] SASCFC 110 which I directed your attention to in my letter to you of 22 November 2013. The AEC does not accept that either of your emails of 19 December are valid requests for access to documents in the possession of the AEC under the FOI Act.

Yours sincerely

Paul Pirani | Chief Legal Officer
Legal & Compliance Branch Executive | Legal & Compliance Branch Australian Electoral Commission
T: (02) 6271 4474 | M: 0401 144 531 | F: (02) 6271 4457

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From: Sophia Wrightman

Delivered

Dear Paul Pirani,

I ask that you review your decision: "The AEC will not be responding to any further emails from you on this matter" under FOI Act.

Based on:

- this request being a new matter: the previous request sought "Agreed on terms for not voting penalties"
- rather, this request seeks information held in recorded format (document/s), which indicate ownership of the right to vote
- that ownership of the right to vote was not addressed or established via the Supreme Court decision in Holmdahl v AEC (No.2) [2012] SASCFC 110
- also, that the FOI request "What are eligible Australians" emailed to the AEC 17 December asked for documentation that clarifies the meaning of "eligible Australians" and not seeking records on "Agreed on terms for not voting penalties". Again this a different matter. Changes in the use of terminology are subject to approval in any organisation, please provide documents that clarify the use of the AEC terminology: "eligible Australians".

In addition, regarding:

"The AEC does not accept that either of your emails of 19 December are valid requests for access to documents in the possession of the AEC under the FOI Act"

I take it you mean this FOI request: "who owns the right to vote" (19 December) and "What are eligible Australians" (17 December) :

- these requests were in writing (email)
- these request stated that they were applications for the purposes of the FOI Act
- these requests provided information about the document(s) sought

Yours sincerely,

Sophia Wrightman

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From: Paul Pirani
Australian Electoral Commission

For-Official-Use-Only

Ms Wrightman

The information about which you purport to seek access to documents is published in the public domain. Accordingly, the AEC will not be responding to any further emails from you on this matter. The Holmdahl case is on the public record and deals with the right to vote. The qualifications of a person to be on the Commonwealth electoral Roll appear in section 93 of the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918.

As both matters are clearly in the public domain, the AEC has no obligation under the FOI Act to deal with your purported FOI requests.

Yours sincerely

Paul Pirani | Chief Legal Officer
Legal & Compliance Branch Executive | Legal & Compliance Branch Australian Electoral Commission
T: (02) 6271 4474 | M: 0401 144 531 | F: (02) 6271 4457

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From: Sophia Wrightman

Delivered

Dear Paul Pirani,

My FOI requests dated 17 & 19 December are not addressed by information in the Holmdahl case as purported. Please refer to my previous email that establishes how and why these are separate matters to the FOI request for terms agreed on for not voting penalties.

I agree there is no obligation by the AEC under the FOI Act to redirect these requests to the Holmdahl case, as it is not relevant to these requests.

Yours sincerely,

Sophia Wrightman

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From: Paul Pirani
Australian Electoral Commission

For-Official-Use-Only

Dear Ms Wrightman

I have no idea what you are referring to. The Holmdahl case sets out the legal requirements for compulsory voting. There is no known concept at law in Australia of the ownership of the right to vote.

This is the last time that the AEC will be responding to you on these matters.

Yours sincerely

Paul Pirani | Chief Legal Officer
Legal & Compliance Branch Executive | Legal & Compliance Branch Australian Electoral Commission
T: (02) 6271 4474 | M: 0401 144 531 | F: (02) 6271 4457

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From: Sophia Wrightman

Delivered

Dear Paul Pirani,

There is no concept in basic logic where something material or immaterial can be given and/or taken without any form of ownership. There is also no law that cannot follow the basic tenets of logic. I trust in good faith that both logic and law is grasped by those representing the Commonwealth of Australia and ask again that this be reviewed by the AEC. If not within the competence of the AEC, please suggest to whom I can put this request to.

Also there is no information provided on the FOI request "What are eligible Australians" dated 17 December. Please respond with information regarding this request.

Yours sincerely,

Sophia Wrightman

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Locutus Sum left an annotation ()

I write because I hope you will accept my advice and my suggestions. Maybe an annotation is not the best place but I have a try anyway.

You have made seven requests from Right to Know. The requests have a summary on your user page (https://www.righttoknow.org.au/user/soph.... It appears that from no request has the department given you access to any document. Each time from the department there has been something else. It is a reply where the officer tries to understand what you want or to answer your questions. And for three times time a lwgal officer from a department of the Commonwealth has said to you "I will not write to you any more", or "I will not respond to you." This is very very unusual to get and if you are wise you can ask yourself, "Why do they not answer my email anymore?" Also, two of your requests have been marked "Request for Administrator attention". Again, if you are willing, you can help yourself if you ask "Why?" You questioned it was because your requests are vexatious but vexatiousness is not the problem.

There are three problems. I think that for problem one the best description is that you have found Right to Know, and you have many questions, and you think that Right to Know can work with the Freedom of Information Act to help you to answer your questions. If that is approximately what is your hope, then there is bad news. The Right to Know website works very well with the Freedom of Information Act but the FOI Act has only one usefulness. A person can use it to obtain access to documents. For understanding the electoral process in Australia the FOI Act almost is useless. For understanding the Australian Constitution, it is the same; FOI is useless. To understand whether the Commonwealth of Australia is corporation and to know if the government has broken its own law and to know if the Commonwealth should be registered with ASIC as a corporation it is also totally useless. When you try to use the FOI law for any reason in this list, it will go wrong. You will not get the thing you want. The FOI Act is a tool with only a single purpose. To get what you want from the FOI law it is necessary to want access to a specific document (like "The email from 17 November, 2012, about parking fines from your department to the Minister for Finance"). When you can identify the document very specifically, you will get a good response. When I say, a "good" response, I mean that you will get cooperation from the department and an answer that you can understand because it will be "yes, you can access the document", "no, you cannot access the document", or "we cannot find the document or it is not existing".

Second problem. Many times your request is not for a clearly identified document (problem 1) but it is also a question that is not connected with the law in a way that other people can understand. For example, in your request to Department of Immigration you ask "Who is the title holder for Australian Citizenship?" This question is like asking "Has the tree made a valid inheritance will?" This is no logical connection from a tree to inheritance. Also, maybe in your mind there is a logical connection from citizenship to a "title holder" but it will not be a logical connection for any other person and definitely not a logical connection for the legal officer at Department of Immigration. They will answer only "What????" because they are completely confused.

Third problem is like number two. Your questions, I must think, are from an understanding of the law (see https://www.righttoknow.org.au/request/t... that says something like "Citizenship is a commodity or unit, owned by one person and contractually given to another". (Maybe I have not correctly said your idea but it seems to be like that). But in reality, it is "not even wrong" (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Not_even_w.... The question has absolutely no connection with the law of Australia but only with your idea of the law. Also, if you try to use a legal dictionary for one part of your understanding and also the FOI Act for the other understanding, then it is possible to give a guarantee ... you will not get the understanding you want.

I have some suggestions. One is to find a book on the history of the law in Australia for background. Another suggestion is learn to read an Act. For example, all your questions about the electoral process are answered in the Commonwealth Electoral Act and if you can read the Act you will also understand why the questions you ask about "what the AEC considers to be ..." do not make a logical sense. Some Acts can be difficult to read you can find some good books to make the process more simple. A third suggestion is maybe the most difficult. It is a suggestion to ask another user of Right to Know whether they can help you to make your requests in a way that a department can answer. On Right to Know you can send a message to another user and maybe it is possible to find a user who has made several requests and a department has given a good response.

This is a very long annotation. Maybe it is not really suitable and maybe an administrator will delete it but I write it because of a hope that to use the suggestions you can get the answers or documents you really want. I know that you did not accept my answers or suggestions in any other annotation. But I think that if you make your correspondence with the departments the same as it has been, then your latest four requests will also get the reply from different departments to say, "I will not respond any further".

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Sophia Wrightman left an annotation ()

Fair suggestion LP. I'll withdraw this request here. Apologies to Paul as I agree this is not the correct forum for this request.

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From: Sophia Wrightman

Delivered

Dear Paul Pirani,

I withdraw this request. Apologies I agree it is not the correct forum for this particular query regarding ownership of the right to vote.

Thank you for your responses to date.

Yours sincerely,

Sophia Wrightman

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Sophia Wrightman left an annotation ()

LS - I was in a rush so didn't get a chance to respond to your annotation in detail. I would agree, I would not get documents from some of my requests but there's much information in how the responses are given. On this last request, rereading it, appears not appropriate for this forum and not the right query, so I felt it best to withdraw that one.

Perhaps you could answer some questions, I'm thinking it might help explain what I meant better:

- do people possess citizenship?
(Y / N)
- are some people entitled to hold citizenship?
(Y / N)
- if you are entitled to and are given citizenship, do you not hold the title of citizenship?
(Y / N)
- Is the title holder not necessarily the owner of something?
(Y / N)

You could equally ask the same of rights.

The issue is what happens if such simple facts were transparent? In that answer lies the problem of not having documentation readily available. But you already know that.

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From: Paul Pirani
Australian Electoral Commission

For-Official-Use-Only

Dear Ms Wrightman

In my email to you of 20 December 2013 I included the following statement as to why the AEC will not be treating your purported request for information as a valid FOI request.

In that email I included the following:

"The information about which you purport to seek access to documents is published in the public domain. Accordingly, the AEC will not be responding to any further emails from you on this matter. The Holmdahl case is on the public record and deals with the right to vote. The qualifications of a person to be on the Commonwealth electoral Roll appear in section 93 of the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918."

The final sentence of the above quote from my email addresses the issue of who is an "eligible Australian".

Copies of Commonwealth legislation are not documents that are subject to the FOI Act (see the definition of "document" in subsection 4(1) and section 12 of the FOI Act).

Accordingly, you request for information is not a valid request under section 15 of the FOI Act as you have once again failed to request access to a "document".

Yours sincerely

Paul Pirani | Chief Legal Officer
Legal & Compliance Branch Executive | Legal & Compliance Branch Australian Electoral Commission
T: (02) 6271 4474 | M: 0401 144 531 | F: (02) 6271 4457

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AMartin left an annotation ()

check out what happened with Arjay Martin and the AEC last election - www.arjaymartin.com

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Things to do with this request

Anyone:
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