1862: Paul Keating jailed for voting as Ronald McDonald

In August 1861, a Ballarat man who shared his name with a future Australian prime minister was charged and remanded in custody for voter fraud. During a general election for the Victorian parliament, witnesses saw Paul Keating attempt to cast two votes using false names – including another famous name from the future:


Problems with identification and record-keeping made personation (the criminal act of voting illegally under someone else’s name) an occasional problem in 19th century elections. When discovered it was dealt with harshly by the courts.

After a lengthy investigation by the police and the Victorian colonial government, Keating was convicted in April 1862 and sentenced to six months’ imprisonment. On release from prison he went into gold mining in Ballarat, though his subsequent fate is unknown.

The 20th century Paul Keating was elected to the Australian parliament in 1969, later serving as treasurer (1983-91) and prime minister (1991-96).

Source: The Star (Ballarat), August 14th 1861; April 16th 1862. Content on this page is © Alpha History 2019-23. Content may not be republished without our express permission. For more information please refer to our Terms of Use or contact Alpha History.