By way of background, the High Court case was Roach v Electoral Commissioner & Anor, a challenge to the validity of certain provisions of the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918, specifically those that prohibit sentenced prisoners from voting.
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.
If you are interested in the substantive matters raised by this case, The Law Report on ABC Radio National had a good discussion of the case this week. You can read the transcript or download the audio here.