Voting: let’s keep it compulsory

Compulsory voting is not an issue I’ve ever given much thought to, always taking for granted that it was sacrosanct, however given that Nick Minchin has put his grubby little hands all over it I can only assume that he is doing so because voluntary voting would be in the best interests of the Coalition. His latest foray into the issue comes after an Adelaide man who lost a Supreme Court challenge against Australia’s compulsory voting system announced plans to take his legal fight to the High Court. Anders Holmdahl has argued that voting at federal and state elections is a right, not a duty. Minchin attended the Adelaide hearing to lend support to the legal challenge, adding:

“I’ve always said that compulsory voting is an infringement of the democratic rights of Australians, so I’m delighted this case was brought to court,” he said.

“I’m sorry that the matter has been dismissed at this level, but I hope it will be taken to the High Court.

“I think the Commonwealth Electoral Act’s requirement on Australians to vote, whether they want to or not, is wrong and I think it should be tested in the High Court.”

Yes, folks, you read that correctly; one of the founding fathers of the draconian WorkChoices and the vocal advocate of a harsher WorkChoices Mach II is concerned about an infringement on the democratic rights of Australians.

He has been calling for voluntary voting for many years now and way back in 2005 he speculated that an election victory to Howard (in 2007) may well have seen his desired amendments to the Electoral Act, though back then his call for voluntary voting was not based on any infringement of the democratic rights of Australians, but that:

. . . voluntary voting’s a very important barometer of the health of a political system, which compulsion can disguise. That’s one of my main complaints about compulsory voting.

That sounds about as unconvincing as his concern for the democratic rights of Australians.

Howard himself had fiddled with the Act prior to the 2007 election when he removed the seven day period after the issue of the election writs during which voters could enrol or update their enrolment. This was a sneaky move. With the opinion polls showing strong support for Labor from 18-21 year olds, Howard wanted to exclude as many of that cohort group from voting and removal of the seven day enrolment period was a dastardly means at his disposal.

I have my suspicions that Minchin’s motives are no different to Howard’s, particularly when we consider some of the crucial attributes of compulsory voting:

  • Higher sample of public opinion with higher voter turnout
  • Legitimacy of government is more accepted by a high voter turnout
  • Equalises participation and removes bias from less-privileged citizens
  • Increases citizen interest in politics and government
  • Forces the silent majority to think about elections which safeguards from extremism

And more importantly, this:

Compulsory voting reduces power of lobbying groups. A benefit of compulsory voting is that it makes it more difficult for special interest groups to vote themselves into power. Under a non-compulsory voting system, if fewer people vote then it is easier for smaller sectional interests and lobby groups to control the outcome of the political process. The outcome of the election reflects less the will of the people (Who do I want to lead the country?) but instead reflects who was logistically more organized and more able to convince people to take time out of their day to cast a vote.

That has the smell of Minchin all over it.

Some of you may recall my recent post Who runs the Liberal Party? where I speculated that Nick Minchin still pull many strings. Though retired from politics, his ideologies are reflected in the direction the party is heading. Here is a snippet of that earlier post for those who might have missed it:

But unless the legacy dies we could be well again be the victim of more of the hard-line extremist’s ideologies. I’m referring to WorkChoices, of which Minchin was one of the architects. Despite its unpopularity he has maintained that the reforms did not go far enough and further deregulation is required. In a parting shot as he retired from politics he:

. . . appealed to his party not to drift into populism as an over-reaction to being burnt on its WorkChoices laws.

Was anybody in the party listening? Yes.

Opposition Leader Tony Abbott has given qualified support . . . for a Coalition government to roll back Labor’s IR reforms.

Minchin might yet see his dream again realised with the scrapping of unfair dismissal laws and the return to individual contracts for employers. Can he trust Abbott? Yep.

Can we trust him?

It would be far more easier to avoid drifting into populism and pandering to lobby groups with the removal of compulsory voting (referring to the dot points above).

That extreme Liberal Party think tank, Menzies House offers some very radical opinions that leave the reader convinced that the removal of compulsory voting would damage the Labor Party.

Under voluntary voting leaders must empower the electorate, which means they must promote freedom. They must sell freedom. They must defend and protect freedom.

Voluntary voting will reverse our slide towards totalitarianism.

Australians don’t like compulsory voting. Not really. Australians like to see evidence of high voter participation and they think high voter turnouts indicate this. The government has deceived the Australian people for far too long.

Until the Australian government stops lying, Australia will continue to deceive the world into thinking that freedom is bad for democracy.

Could it be that compulsory voting favours a particular type of voter? Could their deception be politically motivated? Julia Gillard supports compulsory voting.

In my opinion everything revolves around that one question: “Could it be that compulsory voting favours a particular type of voter?” Yes, it does:

. . . compulsory voting supposedly favours political representation of the educationally and economically disadvantaged and marginalised – predominantly Labor supporters.

There we have it in a nutshell. Forget Minchin’s concern on the infringement of the democratic rights of Australians. Forget his argument too that voluntary voting’s a very important barometer of the health of a political system. Replace it with voluntary voting’s a very important barometer of the health of a political party: the Liberal Party.

Quite simply, Minchin wants whatever will eliminate a few Labor voters thus enhancing the opportunity to fulfill the expectations of big money, big business and big media.

While researching this post I came across many pages that have put forward the pros and cons of compulsory voting, however each argument overlooked one crucial point: if some members of the far right are so vehemently opposed to it, than it must be to their political advantage to remove it.

For that reason alone, let’s keep it compulsory.

141 comments on “Voting: let’s keep it compulsory

  1. I use to support voluntary voting on the basis that nobody should ever be forced to vote if they don’t want too. However, I’ve come to the belief that voluntary voting will only lead to a small amount of people voting which would generally exclude the lower classes who would be most unlikely to attend to vote.

    Our political parties across the board already ignore the Australian as it is. Why encourage more of it?

  2. Voting isn’t compulsory. Turning up and having your name ticked off the roll is all that’s required. Going further is optional.

  3. In my opinion, a very substantial argument in favour of compulsory voting is that in some areas, some people or groups of people could be coerced or threatened into not voting. This is as per America where armed guards were once needed to escort African Americans to polling stations.

  4. Duracell is spot on. We have compulsory attendance at a polling booth, not compulsory voting.
    There are plenty of ways for voters to show dissatisfaction with the political system: informal votes at the recent local government elections in my area were about 25% (the quota for electing a councillor being 25% of the vote). Minchin’s 2005 argument was (is) pretty weak.
    I disagree with the distinction between voting as a right and voting as a duty. Voting should be both a right available to all over 18, but also as a responsibility.
    The legitimacy of a government elected through compulsory voting cannot be underestimated or under-valued. Even if we accept that compulsory voting infringes upon the democratic rights of citizens, it’s a price we should be willing to pay.

  5. Actually voting is not compulsory…..getting your name crossed off is….but what one does with the ballot paper when in the booth is up to you as indicated by those who donkey vote or deface the ballot paper.

  6. Min, Miglo – The requirement is to be crossed off the roll and receive a ballot paper. After that no-one knows how you voted, or even if you voted at all. ‘Compulsory Voting’ is needed only to make the theory of the preferential system work.
    Give me the right to say NO, instead of forcing me to express some degree of preference for some one I don’t even want on the same planet in order to say Yes for someone I do want to represent me, and I will put up with the nuisance of having to turn out for what is essentially a farce and create the pretence that I have cast a formal vote.

  7. Very much in favour of ‘compulsory voting’ as it’s normally understood. (Even though it isn’t). With every ‘freedom’ comes some ‘responsibilities’. For example the ‘freedom’ to drive a car comes the ‘responsibility’ (among others) to stay on the ‘left’ (at least here in Australia).

    While Minchin subscribes to ‘a’ particular concept of democracy (rule of the people and all that) he hates collective action. He much prefers ‘indiviualism’. You know, a deomcratic society where the power of each individual is (in theory) the same as that of Rupert or James.

    The ‘reality’ and the ‘theory’ never collide. Except you and I know that they do.

  8. Great post! I completely agree with the points above. One can choose not to vote, even after showing up and getting their name ticked off. For me, voting is not a right, it’s a responsibility, if we want to live in a democracy, we have to behave at least once, individually, in a democratic manner by engaging in one democratic activity. Voting is it. We only need to look to the U.S. for the pitfalls of a system of voluntary voting, and there are voices coming out of the U.S. that suggest democracy is not really a strong point of that nation.

  9. I used to despise voting, it simply interferred in my life. But, looking back now, as someone who has taken a more pro-active interest in politics (cheers workchoices), I actually support the notion of compulsory voting.

    It allows the apathetic to have a voice 😉

  10. The UK has had voluntary voting for decades and has none of the problems stated above.
    I would only agree with compulsory voting if it contained a section which could be ticked and which read:
    “I do not consider any of these candidates to be competent to participate in the running of this country.” – TICK.
    If the ticks in this section exceeded those for the respective candidates it should be declared a void election in that constituency and a new election held with all previous candidates barred from standing. There are far too many political illiterates elected and those who see themselves as representing personal/Party interests, rather than public interests.

  11. Excellent piece and something I have had debates on since I first enrolled, and that’s longer ago than I like to remember.

    Non-compulsory voting does the things already covered here in favouring the conservatives and lobby groups who will run campaigns to target specific groups to vote and exclude others.

    A thing that will be done, as it is in the US, is polling booths will be readily available with easy access for one group but difficult to access for others, or in some cases excluding areas so the residents will need to travel further to vote, thus be less inclined to. Another trick, if you want to call it that, is to place booths in places most in the area would be reluctant to go or are difficult to get to.

    That these and other distortions of the democratic system can be done in a non-compulsory system, whether they ever are or not, is why there should be compulsory voting with instruments in place that make it as easy as possible for everyone to go out and vote or put in a vote if unable to make a polling places.

    It all boils down to the Liberal innate belief they are born to rule and shouldn’t need to work for it, or work whilst in government, it should all be given to them in perpetuity, and they will attempt to rig the system so that occurs.

    It’s like the Murdoch media crying freedom of speech whilst denying it to others, the conservative cry democracy and freedom whilst squashing them.

  12. Latest Morgan Poll has LNP 50 (-2.5) ALP 50 (+2.5) on 2010 election distribution.

    The last News Poll was stated as an outlier but if this continues an outlier will be trend.

    Could this be the reason Minchin is attempting to get rid of compulsory voting, he believes the writing is on the wall for Abbott and the Coalition and now wants to do everything possible to manipulate the results.

  13. Inga – Surely the responsibility cuts both ways – the Parties are there to represent the voters, not just to pursue their own ends.
    Jarl – The UK is still ‘Voluntary voting, First past the post’. I don’t think there has been a voter turn-out over 50% since the 1950s. Just a couple of years ago, thousands were still queued up outside the polling stations when the poll closed at 8pm or whatever. The stations had been staffed on the assumption that the turnout would be around the 30% mark as usual. Trouble was, some 40% of voters were concerned enough to vote, and thousands were denied that right, in the name of cost savings.

  14. I used to despise voting, it simply interferred in my life.

    I suppose I could consider myself “lucky” in that respect Tom R. I was not quite old enough to vote in the election of 13 December 1975, but events immediately preceding that had certainly piqued my interest in politics!

    Since then, I have never understood why anyone would not want to exercise their right AND responsibility to have their say in who should run our country and what direction it should take!

    As far as being compulsory goes, this being a place of “groupthink”, 😆 I agree with most of the above comments 😉 (Especially Inga’s post @8:05 pm)

  15. ghanpa

    Would you like to expand on your meaning of “‘Compulsory Voting’ is needed only to make the theory of the preferential system work.“?

  16. I think it is our compulsory voting system which makes Australia such a stable democracy. Vested interests in the media do threaten that stability though, and it is important that we don’t allow those same vested interests gain further leverage by making voting voluntary.

  17. Fantastic article. I must be living under a rock…I did not even know this was an issue in play. I am shocked but not surprised. Compulsary voting is the core of a healthy democracy.

  18. When so many people in the world do not get a chance to vote, I for one am very pleased that we do and that it is in the format in present use here. I voted in the UK before coming to Australia and to see people not bother to vote bothered me. I was in Singapore when the opposition all resigned and Lee Quan Yue had no problem filling the vacencies. It has been a one party state ever since. Some people might think that is fine look at it now.I am not so sure. America is another example 40% dont bother to vote and the Repugs had to use chaffs in Florida to get GWB over the line. Al gore needed a good kicking then and look at the mess the land of the free is in now. Romney is only interested in 47% of them the rest can go to ???

  19. Rather than furious agreement until a troll comes along, I’d like to pose a related question that I’ve been thinking about: assuming we stick with compulsory voting but move to electronic voting, should an informal vote still be possible?

  20. Migs, great article.
    With the level of political apathy in Australia, the reality is that without compulsory voting, the governments would be determined predominantly by higher socio-economic self interest groups. So yes, Minchin has a very strong vested interest in subverting the process for right wing political gain. 👿

    Patricia, exactly. 😀

    And as many have pointed out, the only responsibility is to turn up at the booth, so those that don’t want to vote, once they get there, don’t have to, but if you make the effort to get to the booth, you may as well vote. 🙂

    As we look around the world at people who are willing to die for the right to vote, and have a say in their futures, I believe that we should not accept apathy in the political process, but rather do everything possible to foster an appreciation for the democracy that we enjoy, yet many take for granted.

    Keep voting compulsory.


  21. move to electronic voting, should an informal vote still be possible?

    i don’t know. but more importantly such systems can be hacked and are seriously flawed
    enabling manipulation of the votes.

    keep voting compulsory, with easily checked (paper) votes, other alternatives provide too much scope for the crooks of the right to act with their traditional dishonesty(ies)

  22. Jarl @8.25pm, you can do that now under the current system. As has been pointed out above, the only compulsory aspect of voting in this country is attendance at the polkling booth and getting your name crossed off.

    Personally, I think all the whining about “having to vote’ is a cop out and a disgraceful lack of respect for our democracy and shows the whingers up as lazy wankers.

    After all, we only have to vote every 3-4 years, so it can hardly regarded as an onerous task.

    I also feel obliged to record my vote in support of all those who are denied the privilege of voting for the the representative and government of their choice. The people of Burma spring to mind.

  23. Migs, great post and great comments. I also think people forget, or worse, don’t care, that the right to vote is a very hard won privilege. We are very privileged particularly when you consider all the people on the planet who are denied that precious right.

  24. Nick Minchin is doing this to provide more distractions from the Coalition falling apart with open warfare in NSW between the factions. Let’s not forget the dreadful performances from Tony Abbott and more recently Kelly O’Dwyer. It’s a way of keeping the distractions going with the Coalition knowing such an issue as this draws significant public debate; a distraction the Coalition desperately needs.

  25. While I Like your post Miglo, you have omitted something quite important. Registering and attending is compulsory. I am a `charade` voter, ie I register, I attend and make certain I have been marked off the List. I used to rip up the papers, now I just refuse them. State and Federal, never been fined, pursued or had any type of follow-up. Just some dirty looks from the ballot booth operators. This is not just your omission, politicians and the embedded media fail spectacularly informing voters of their rights.

  26. ghanpa @ 9:16 pm Yes. Yes it does go both ways, but surely the one, that is compulsory voting, helps maintain a higher standard in the other? That is at least my hope. Clearly we have evidence of governments now that are hugely unpopular having broken many pre-election promises (hello NSW), so there is no guarantee. Standards of integrity of elected representatives are perhaps better addressed as a separate issue, one that includes a consideration of corporate donations, freedom of information laws regarding vested interest groups and lobbying etc.

  27. 30% to 40% is the normal voter turn-out in usa, uk, nz and canada, keep this in mind.
    Hypothetically, isn`t then the Australian vote 60% to 70% `fraudulent` if our non-compuslory voter turn-out `would` be similar to the similar-countries above.???
    I suspect it is.

  28. The one time I actually started leaning to voting for somebody, he got knifed in the back. We, the public, then got offered the choice between two buckets of crap, the only difference was the color of the bucket. The `blue` bucket won one more seat, but not enough to rule. The `red` bucket managed to cobble together a minority government. Both sides have screeched, along with the embedded media, non-stop for two years, still trying to win an election long gone.

  29. RE electronic voting I remember a Mission Impossible episode where thr IMF team had to tamper with a dictator’s polling computer. It still crops up in the back of my mind so here in the ACT where electronic voting has been available for a couple of elections I still go for paper. At least we don’t have chads to worry about just yet. I hope I do not appear too paranoid.

  30. Yeah, you`re more than likely correct Minchin see`s some kind of advantage for the Tories in non-compulsory voting, but I suspect it`s pretty small. Remember, most people aren`t politically inclined. Both parties recruits/memberships have been in free-fall for quite some time now. The same-ness of both parties (nauru) is un-attractive. Both have despotic tendencies, (euthenasia, gay-marriage, abortion) that repel more folks than they attract. Both struggle to find a reason for being, a vision, a membership, a following. Both stay with the same cowardice/stupidity, yank boot-licking, Afghanistan, Iraq, Korea, Vietnam.

  31. “This is as per America where armed guards were once needed to escort African Americans to polling stations.”

    Yes how ironic that now we have armed African American racist trying to influence the vote…Real progress here in America…

  32. Wouldn’t it be better to encourage people to vote using peaceful means such as education and good ideas, rather than fines enforceable with violence?

    Only 9 other nations in the world enforce compulsory voting and none are great bastions of democratic freedom – FAR from it.

    Compulsory voting actually drives voter participation down. In Australia 10% aren’t even registered to vote. Our turnouts are 81% but that includes a high proportion of invalid votes, donkey votes, and blind guesses. Our real voter participation could be as low as 60%. Who knows? Compulsory voting hides true voter participation.

    In New Zealand people vote in high numbers only because they WANT to vote, not just to avoid a fine.

    Even at our inflated 81% these turnouts are lower than many countries where voting is voluntary including Sweden, Denmark, Iceland and others.

  33. With the level of voter apathy and the national attitude of “She’ll be right mate”, compulsory voting is the best way to encourage people to go to the booth rather than the beach or the BBQ etc.
    Sadly many see voting as an inconvenience rather than a privilege, hard fought for.


  34. Sue and Bilko – I didn’t realise ACT had electronic voting. As I tend to think an informal vote is a legitimate choice I’m glad to see it included with a warning. I wonder if people would trust electronic voting machines more if they printed a ballot showing your choices which could then be counted (where paper trumps the electronic vote). It would make results known much faster and people would know if their vote was valid. It’s been suggested that one of the benefits of compulsory voting is that no one is disenfranchised, but I’d argue that our current system is rigged against those with poor literacy skills. I think electronic voting would help to overcome this.

  35. I had a go at Jason Kent of Menzies House way back in September last year in this post:…/does-compulsion-curtail-freedom.html

    Not many realise it wasn’t those damned socialists that first introduced compulsory voting it was a conservative government and it backfired big time cos they didn’t think it through.

  36. There is a very important reason to keep voting compulsory that many have overlooked.

    Voluntary voting would decrease the number of people who attend their local school to vote and consume the obligatory sausage sandwich and an important fund raising opportunity diminished.

  37. Michin’s try on is not new. He raised it when Howard was in power. The ultra conservatives had a hit list on coming to govt. The two that never went anywhere were the abolition of universal health care and compulsory voting. The Howard crew didn’t put any effort into either of those. Why? I think their polling told them that the Australian body politic just was not interested.

  38. My pleasure DMW. For a link to a particular story, click onto that story and copy and paste from the address bar.

    And on compulsory voting, one couldn’t allow the peasants the right to vote..tut, tut, next we might have people from the lower classes elected, thereby soiling the hallowed halls of parliament.

  39. I agree – leave voting compulsory as it forces those with a lack of interest to actually participate (and be partly responsible for the consequences). Getting your name marked off is the compulsory bit – marking the ballot paper is of course optional as the process is supposed to be secret. Just ensure that the paper/s are placed in a Ballot Box so the (very temporary) polling place employees can go home at a reasonable hour.

    Electronic voting won’t come to a Federal Election near you for decades yet. What you need is a robust network that can accept something like 10 to 15 million extra transactions on a Saturday every three years in addition to whatever normal traffic is being carried. As you would expect, most networks are not designed to cater for that sort of peak demand.

  40. 730reportland @ 12:29 am

    What you do is illegal and it’s only the officials, who are ordinary people who volunteer and get paid a small amount, not reporting you that stopped you being fined.

    It is not the case, as some people have claimed, that it is only compulsory to attend the polling place and have your name marked off, and this has been upheld by a number of legal decisions:

    High Court 1926 – Judd v McKeon (1926) 38 CLR 380
    Supreme Court of Victoria 1970 – Lubcke v Little [1970] VR 807
    High Court 1971 – Faderson v Bridger (1971) 126 CLR 271
    Supreme Court of Queensland 1974 – Krosch v Springbell; ex parte
    Krosch [1974] QdR 107
    ACT Supreme Court 1981 – O’Brien v Warden (1981) 37 ACTR 13

    As your ballot is secret there is no way of knowing what you put on the ballot, but refusing ballots or tearing them up is not a secret act but an one of informal voting. Refusing to vote after your name has been checked off is illegal according to the courts cited above.

  41. Of course you are correct Min, the peasants should not be allowed a vote after all we know oooh icky poo they smell a bit and they are revolting. 😉

    It has long been a hobby horse of mine the legislation for partisan political purposes will usually come back to bite you in the bum and there more so when fiddling with the electoral laws.

    Howard’s changes re the time after the election is called for people to enroll may well have bitten Abbott in the bum. There was a bigger than usual number of people who wished to vote at the last election and couldn’t as they had been taken off the rolls. Pure conjecture, and we will never know for sure, but with the tight numbers in some electorates it may well have been that there were enough extra votes for LNP candidates that they may have won one more seat and history would be completely different. It could have just as easily gone the other way with Labor winning one more seat but I like the karma of Abbott losing out because of Howard (and Mincin’s) fiddling story better.

    Gary Gray’s recent changes to the Electoral Act allowing the AEC to automatically update the rolls using other sources and some other cleaning up appear to have been politically neutral and have come and gone with very little comment. GG is a pretty smart ‘under the radar’ operator and I gather is very well advised so it is likely that his changes were all fairly well above board.

    When push come to shove the fact that our local P&C has more customers for the obligatory sausage sambo is the straw that breaks the camel’s back for me.

  42. Mobius Ecko @11.36am

    You have dropped refs to `cases` outside my voting life-time.
    1926 ?? geesh, the year is 2012, nearly 90 years old ??

    Got anything from Late 1990s onward ??

  43. Precedent and all that 730.

    That is what’s required in a court, for the precedent to be set and it has been, no matter how long ago that precedent was.

    Unless another precedent is set overriding the previous one they remain extent. So you can try to take being able to rip up ballots or not accept them as a freedom to court and be that precedent if you want?

    Min will be able to clarify this as she has the legalese I don’t.

  44. Via Min`s Link @10.56am 26/sep/2012 .. I got to ..
    which quotes these references and hands me my arse on a platter.

    Some points of interest, State`s and Federal, I have refused the papers. I can`t remember which time I noticed this but,

    when I went to the voting place, I gave my name and got crossed off. This was done by ruling a line, in pen through my name and address/details they have.

    When I refused the ballot paper, they then put a circle, or circled something at the end of my name/detail line. Not all, but several circles were on other name.detail lines.

    There does seem to be some of us refusing papers, friends, family and neighbors. The `Law` may be as it is stated, but it looks like one that is not being pursued.

    Friends, family, neighbors and myself have not been pursued. Those that haven`t registered have. This is very strange, maybe its a bad look for governments to prosecute its citizens, when those governments want to brag about 95% voting attendence.

  45. That makes sense 730reportland. They probably record it for statistics purposes but don’t in anyway follow up on it.

  46. Mobius, you are perfectly correct in this matter. It is not unknown for the High Court to over-rule previous decisions especially of the lower courts, however these incidents are usually due to changes in society’s expectations or where the Court believes that the lower court erred in it’s judgement.

    Just my opinion, but the overturning of Howard’s electoral law would be the one which any subsequent court would be looking at:

    SAM MCLEAN: The court found that that’s unconstitutional because it in practise disenfranchises Australians. It limits their right to vote and therefore those laws have been struck down.

    I believe that the court’s words “limits their right to vote” are the salient ones, that is: would the High Court believe that Minchin’s idea of non-compulsory voting have a possible effect of limiting the right to vote for some people/groups of people? There is a strong case I believe for saying, yes it would.

  47. Greetings all.

    I’ve enjoyed reading your great comments and I’ll get around to responding to them later. A mild virus has kept me bed-ridden and a great distance from a keyboard.

  48. Ever since I can remember as a boy all I wanted to do was be able to vote, in 77 as a just turned 18yr old I got to vote for Gough and the Labor Party….. the next one involved the NDP and a young lead singer from one of Australias best bands 😉 who lost because of this strange thing called ‘the preference vote’….. 😦
    … “Stranger things have happened. In 1984 Federal Labor and the Liberals did a deal to keep the newly formed Nuclear Disarmament Party (NDP) out of the Senate. They exchanged preferences so that a passionately anti-uranium and Pine Gap opponent Peter Garrett couldn’t get elected even with over 9.4 per cent of the first-preference vote. In that year, Labor preferred a National Party Senator to an NDP one” ….even with 9.4 per cent 😕 I have voted below the line ever since, every number, even if there are lots of candidates… every number…. with Fred Nile always last 😉 ..(true)….. I know exactly where my preferences are going at every election 😀

  49. Miss Eagle @9.56am, I don’t think the sheeples would have been as fussed over not having to front up to a polling booth, but there may have been lynchings if they had a go at getting rid of Medicare. We plebs like it too much.

    ted guy @12.10pm, I see where you’re coming from and I’ll join you in that sentiment.

    I’ve always voted below the line too, LOVO.

  50. @Bacchus September 25, 2012 @ 9:22 pm
    Preferential voting is one of several systems meant to achieve ‘fair’ representation. ‘First-past-the-post’ inevitably means nearly half the voters will be unhappy. PV is based on the idea that while people want their first choice of rep, they will still be satisfied if their second choice wins – but for it to work effectively it needs a very high turnout, to get a genuine cross-section of voters. Where voting is voluntary, as in the UK, the 30% who regularly turn out are party members, faithful non-members, and various activists.. That 30% is not a representative sample.
    The UK is considering introducing preferential voting, not least because Blair at one point won a majority in the Commons with little more than half of 30% of the possible vote. I think they would do better to stay with F-P-T-P and introduce compulsory attendance.
    A simple mark beside one name in a list does not call for a great level of numeracy or literacy – that greatly reduces the chance of an accidental ‘informal’ vote. FPTP does not lend itself to ‘preference deals’ and other attempts to manipulate the result .
    It is the politicians who want to change the voting system – that alone is reason to reject the proposal.

  51. Ricky, from your link:

    “I think the Commonwealth Electoral Act’s requirement on Australians to vote, whether they want to or not, is wrong and I think it should be tested in the High Court.”

    It is a requirement to do many things in Australia “whether they want to or not”, wear a seatbelt, smoke outside. There is still freedom of choice, and in Australia we are free to exercise that’s just that you pay a fine as a consequence.

    I’ve seen the elderly, people who are blind, people in wheelchairs make the effort to go and vote. Too bad if some choose not to, pay the fine as a protest. If enough lodge this protest, then get back to us about any changes via the High Court.

  52. Min, big problem is that over a million are not on that roll. Sadly the people missing to are in their thirties and forties. This government need to revert the changes that Howard made. They lead too a unfair system.

    Another concern is the number of informal votes. Big problem in Western Sydney last election.

    Another is optional preferential voting.

  53. CU, Optional Preferential voting, with a bit of assistance from which ever political tribe it would benefit at the time, leads to defacto first past the post voting. Beatiie and Newman both “marketed” the “Just Vote 1” message for all they could to achieve a beneficial outcome.

    Agree about the return to leaving the roll open longer after the election has been called. State Elections on the east coast are less of a concern as they seem to be able to access the full electoral roll and give people a vote in the seat they are enrolled for using PDA’s. The feds can’t don’t have the same technology.

  54. 2353. agree about Queensland. Contrary to popular belief, first past the post is not fair.

    Saying that, there are fairer systems than ours.

    Hare Clarke for starters or multi member electorates.

    There need to be an exerted effort to get those rolls up to date. The rolls need to be open up to twenty four hours before the election.

    The Electoral Office needs to be given more power to cross reference names with other agencies such as taxation and Centrelink.

    Voting is a privileged and also a duty.

  55. Sparta, I’m going to spend a day at the Grand Canyon sometime in the last week of October. I understand it’s a 10 hour drive from where you are.

    I’d like to go to Phoenix one day as I’ve heard many reports about the mysterious Phoenix Lights. Was it a UFO as now admitted by the then governor?

  56. CU @ 12:26 AM
    Over the years there have been people who have looked at the election results and compared what would have happened if we used first past the post in federal elections. Overall at most elections the same party would have formed government but different people would have been elected in some electorates.

    The last election was probably an exception (does that prove the rule? – maybe not) but I haven’t checked the numbers.

    Coming up with a ‘fair’ system to elect people has been puzzling electoral academics and enthusiasts probably since about an hour after the first election was ever held and we are still working on it. 🙂

    Hare Clarke (with Robson Rotation) is used in the Tasmanian lower house and the ACT and only works with multi-member electorates. Whether it is ‘fair’ does depend on your view of what ‘fair’ means as it does have it’s critics.

    Gary Gray’s recent amendments to the electoral act did do something toward the Electoral Commission being able to cross reference with other agencies,

    I haven’t seen a good summary of the changes (it sort of flew under the radar) but the bill was called Electoral and Referendum Amendment (Protecting Elector Participation) Act 2012

    Must look into it. Damn other lives keep interupting though. 🙂

  57. I do not consider winner take all, that represents as small minority of the vote cast as fair. I vote for Labor mostly but believe those who vote for small parties and independents votes carry the same value as mind.

    I believe we do not or should not vote for a party and it’s leader or PM. We vote a local member, who has the mandate to represent the electorate ion parliament.

    I have not problem of minority government, as that represents the will of the voter, as result of the vote casted.

    I believe that Hitler was voted in with about thirty percent of the vote. That means that seventy did not want him.

    We do not have two contenders in each electorate. We have many more usually.

    Preferential voting may not be perfect, as their is no perfect system,is more likely to vote in a member,, that has if not the first choice, but a least second of the majority of voters.

    Multi member electorate tries to address the problem.

    There is the method that is used in some countries of more than one election. That is a second election between the top two from the first. Not much difference in reality from Hare Clarke, but more cumbersome.

    Under out system, the member has to get a majority, albeit with the second preference of some,

    If one believes in compulsory government, as I do, one must ensure that the rolls are up to date.

    It says something that the Coalition does not have this belief. I see no harm in all citizens being required to take some interest in how the country is government for a short time, each three years.

    Would like to see this to be every four years, on a fixed date, To me, our elections and the system is too precious to be in the control of politicians.,

    Four year fixed term is the way to go.

    The PM then loses the election date as their plaything, They can get on with government until the date comes around.

  58. DWM, I believe that most voters have the sense to take into consideration how their system works, and vote accordingly. Mostly the results meets their voting intention.

    This does not mean that all systems are OK. Bad systems can throw up and results, that were of the intention of the voter.

    Parties should respect the results, not throw a three tantrum because the system did not go their way.

    First past the post, or winner takes all does not do this,unless we have a Constitution based on a two party system.

    We do not. Our system is based on a member being elected in each electorate, who has the mandate to represent all in that electorate in Parliament.

    It is the vote of the individuals who decide who the government is. It is they, that indirectly decide the PM.

    There is no mention of parties or the title of PM within the Constitution.

    It is each local member that has a mandate, on behalf of their constituents, to vote to form government.

    The result in modern day, is that a party forms governments, sometimes with the support of minor parties and Independents.

    For this reason, I see nothing wrong with minority or coalition governments. They represent the will of the voter.

    With first past the post, members can be voted in with a small percentage of the vote, where the majority are ignored. That to me, is not fair.,

    With preferential, there has to be a majority of the voters, made up of first and second choice.

    Some countries achieve this by having a second poll with a run off between the first two in the first.

    Preferential does this in a more simpler and cheaper manner.

    Hare Clarke or multi member electorates, I believe are more likely to give representation to a majority.

    There is nothing wrong with minority or coalition governments. They represent the wishes of the majority of people.

    All people have the right for those to be elected, who represent their views. This is important for good governance. One man’s vote is more important than another.

    i would love us to move away from how politics is played today. That is completely adversarial with he aim of destroying ones opponent.

    I would love to see the game played, as a battle between policies, ideas and what is in the best interest of the nation. The ideas and the way that they are executed that counts. All electorate members should be contributing. It should be a battle of ideas, not people or parties.

    There is and has been in the recent past, a place for bipartisanship and cooperation.

    One person or party does not have, cannot have all; the answers.

    It takes a competent leader to have the guts and faith in their own ability to acknowledge that sometimes their opposites have the answers.

    Now we have no no no, and a continual undermining and talking down of the economy. They see the only way to win, is have all the government does failing.

    If a government fails, it is the people who pay. Does this make sense, that one destroys all to get what one wants.

    More terrifying, is what type of person does this and believes it is OK.

    I have seen small children destroy the toys of others, that they have not been allow to have. Surely we can move on from childish behavior to act like adults.

    No party or lead has all the answers.

    The answers are not set in stone, they evolve and change over time.

    The proposition that all that is said during a campaign become the magical mandate and must be carried out in full, with no alteration is stupidity in the extreme.

    Even Menzies, after an election took much of Labor’s election promises, once elected.

    In politics, needs can change quickly. Better ways of doing things evolve.

    It is not about keeping promise, but what is correct and necessary at the time,

    The best of plans and ideas change day from day. How many buildings are built to the architect’s original plans. Changes are made, when one sees a better way to proceed.

  59. Cu, that is so very true. One has wonder how it all fits in – firstly Abbott’s continuous questioning of the election result, next it seems that there is an improvement in the polls for Labor while simultaneously Minchin stating that there should be non-compulsory voting…

  60. Cu, thanks for your views on preferential voting, you always inform and make a sound case, but I still do not like how the ALP and the LNP can collude together and do this-:
    “Stranger things have happened. In 1984 Federal Labor and the Liberals did a deal to keep the newly formed Nuclear Disarmament Party (NDP) out of the Senate. They exchanged preferences so that a passionately anti-uranium and Pine Gap opponent Peter Garrett couldn’t get elected even with over 9.4 per cent of the first-preference vote. In that year, Labor preferred a National Party Senator to an NDP one” …..
    Correct me if Im wrong, but if the ALP or LNP had a 9.4 per cent lead in any electorate, they’d call the seat theirs…. ever since ’84 I have been voting below the line so no one can ‘manipulate my preferences.
    ..but as you say its evoving and probably the best at the moment….

  61. …. and every time I vote….. and below the line… I still think of Peter Garratt and how they ‘dudded’ him…. still P’s me off !!!

  62. LOVO, I( do not believe we have the best there is. I do know that the voting system is too important to let any politician take the running in, Yes, both parties will collude when it suits them.

    There seems to be a opinion aboard that small parties and independents muck up the system, and have no right to exist.

    The problem with going below the line, is that there can be so many candidates and it is too easy for the vote to become informal, often at seven or eight.

    I am not mathematical, but I suspect after fourth or fifth candidate, , the preferences do not add or change the final; results.

  63. CU @ 6:30 AM,
    There is the method that is used in some countries of more than one election. That is a second election between the top two from the first. Not much difference in reality from Hare Clarke, but more cumbersome.

    The system were there are two elections is known variously as a Run Off Election or Two-Round System. (See ) It is used to obtain a single winner. It is similar to preferential voting as we use here except that the the third person can’t get through and be elected as happened with Wilkie in Denison and (Needs checking) Bandt in Melbourne at the last election.

    There is no similarity at all with the Hare-Clarke system which is used to determine multiple winners from the one electorate. The Hare-Clark system is also known in some places as the Single Transferable Vote System.

    To me, our elections and the system is too precious to be in the control of politicians.

    Can’t disagree with that, but, the reality is, that it is politicians (you know those people we elect to apply their best mind to make laws in the interest of the nation as a whole 😉 ) that are in control of the laws that determine our electoral system.

    It does raise the question of, ‘if the elected representatives were not in charge of the electoral system who would be?’ Would it be an ‘Independant Commission’? and how would those people on the commission be determined? by politicians? Looks like that would square the circle!

    Personally, as far as representation goes, I am favor of proportional representation over our current mainly two party winner takes all type system.

    Unfortunately there are many difficulties in implementing a reasonably fair proportional representative parliament, the first one being state boundaries. (Currently the constitution prevents any electorate crossing a state boundary)

    We may get proportional represention in Australia but I suspect I will have to wait for my next lifetime to see it happen.

  64. @Catching up September 28, 2012 @ 8:00 am
    CU, very much with you there. My point has always been that my community does not have a representative in the Parliament – one or other of the parties has their representative in my community, except for the very few Independents.
    In 19th century Britain, an electorate could easily have several candidates, standing in ether the Whig or the Tory interest, and the voters could elect three of a kind, or two of one and one of the other if they so chose, as indicated by the votes cast for each individual – the best three were elected. That would be well worth another look, with full enfranchisement.
    That did not stop the major parties from trying to influence candidates to stand elsewhere to protest their favoured man, but it went a long way to minimising the effect of that sort of collusion.

  65. If compulsory voting favours one side of politics or the other, why have both major parties benefitted over a long period of time from being elected via compulsory voting? Australia is one of the most stable countries on earth in terms of government, and that is no accident.

    One thing that is rarely mentioned, maybe because it sounds to much like making people do something and politicians are terrified of that, is that it is adult people’s RESPONSIBILITY to participate in their community.

    Voting, that is leaving the house and attending a polling place, having your name struck off the register and putting a ballot paper in the box once every couple of years seems the very minimum people can do for the sake of participation in the huge human responsibility of managing ourselves.

    Exemptions are already allowed for people on religious grounds (why should they bother, they already get tax exemptions, right?) and other more-or-less legitimate grounds. If you feel really strongly about it, it will cost you a measly $50 to $100 in fines to stand by your principles. Not bad for a couple of year’s worth of avoiding the most basic of civic duties.

    I’d seriously like to take some of these people to countries where they line up for days, bring their own food, get beaten up, sometimes killed and still struggle to the ballot box because it is the only chance ordinary people have of changing anything.

  66. ’d seriously like to take some of these people to countries where they line up for days, bring their own food, get beaten up, sometimes killed and still struggle to the ballot box because it is the only chance ordinary people have of changing anything.

    That is such a good point. Here we have people bitching that they have to vote once every three years whilst people in some countries risk their lives to vote yet still do it.

    In this country some have put their lives on the line and lost them in fighting for the freedom of having our system of democracy, yet there are some who believe only one side has the right to rule in perpetuity and attempt things to undermine it. It’s those same people who want to remove compulsory voting, wonder why?

  67. Christine spouts the usual anti-choice Line. But these folk never say that a VOTE WITH-HELD or ABSTAIN box be on every ballot paper so, those of us unhappy with all sides of the political quackery have the democratic, social responsible voice she demands of us.

    Also, John-W-Howard met with the `deluded-brethren-cult` that doesn`t vote. Figure that one out guys.

  68. That actually makes a lot of senese 730reportland. Elected members ABSTAIN in the house – electors should likewise be accorded the right to ABSTAIN, if they so choose. Of course, this may also mean they should ABSTAIN from commenting on the outcome of the election or what the government, subsequently elected, does 😉

  69. What I ‘spout’ is my opinion. And people already abstain by writing messages on their ballots, not completing their ballots and so on. These types of ballots are counted, recorded and published for all to see. They are called Informal Votes. Anyone can do it, feel ‘free’.

    One thing I didn’t mention before was how much of a privileged lifestyle problem this type of thing is. “OMG, I HAVE to vote, my government is so oppressive”.

    FFS, the UN vote on ‘traditional values’ today threatens to undo committments to women’s rights and all the good a recent vote to ensure that the LGBTIQ people are protected from torture and torment in the countries of their birth. All these things can now be overturned because of ‘traditional values’. Countries don’t HAVE to vote at the UN, but representatives of governments committed to bigotry, conservative values and oppression did so in all their numbers.

    And that is EXACTLY how non-compulsory voting works. The motivated and organised vote, even when what they are voting for would disadvantage substantial numbers of people; the non-motivated wonder how things got so bad, so quickly, but are reassured about how ‘free’ they are because they don’t have to participate in the management of their own lives.

    The real anti-choice is trying to fool people that NOT voting will make their lives better.

  70. “.The real anti-choice is trying to fool people that NOT voting will make their lives better..”

    Yes the 2010 election pleased everyone, didn`t it. ..

    And if you voted alp because of Rudd in 2007, then he didn`t get to complete his term, So-called democracy Huh.

  71. “.Of course, this may also mean they should ABSTAIN from commenting on the outcome of the election or what the government, subsequently elected, does.”

    So Baccus, if I don`t vote for Mr-Rabbit and he wins next time, I should remain silent when Mr-Rabbit returns `Work-Choice`

    You would really want that Baccus? .. I don`t.

  72. No dummy – If you make the conscious decision not to make a choice in deciding WHO is to represent you in the parliament (and by extension, which party forms government), you forfeit the right to whinge and bitch ad nauseum about the result from that point forward,

    IF however, you vote for your local candidate who isn’t a member of Mr-Rabbit’s party, yet Mr-Rabbit becomes PM, you can go for all you’re worth in opposing ‘Work-Choice’ Mark IV…

  73. 2010 election pleased around 50% and any election that lost by the conservatives has them crying, whining, dummy spitting and attempting to engineer early elections whilst espousing they was robbed, the voters are stupid and they didn’t deserve to lose.

  74. So Baccus, if I ABSTAIN and Mr-Rabbit and he wins next time, I should remain silent when Mr-Rabbit returns `Work-Choice`, and takes an axe to the usual, health, education, pensions

    You would really want that Baccus? .. I don`t.

  75. Well be a grown-up and VOTE then! IMO, if you CHOOSE not to participate in the electoral process, you forfeit the right to bitch about the consequences!

  76. Mobius .. “.2010 election pleased around 50%.”

    Try 47/48%. If the Libs hadn`t tossed Mr-Talkbull, (which is the only person of intelligence and leadership the Libs have) Joolya vey quite possibly, would not be prime`meddler.

    The great mistake of tossing Mr-Talkbull for Mr-Rabbit doomed the Libs.

  77. Well be a grown-up and VOTE then! IMO, if you CHOOSE not to participate in the electoral process, you forfeit the right to bitch about the consequences!
    So we should then forfeit `free-speech`.
    Isn`t free speech the `corner`stone of so-called democracy.?

  78. IF. Big IF. Pure speculation and something that can never be known.

    48% is around 50%. And out of the remaining around 50% there will be a chunk who won’t be upset with how the minority government is going.

    By the way Turnbull only lost as two members who were his supporters weren’t present in the Liberal Party room for the vote, which is believed to be the reason Hockey/Abbott made their move when they did.

    If the Liberals had a full Party room vote then Turnbull would have won by one vote.

  79. Sorry Mobius, I didn`t realize you meant the Libs Party room vote. I was talking election 2010. I never thought Mr-Rabbit had any hope of winning over Oakshot, Wilkie and the rest, Mr-Talkbull maybe.

  80. It is interesting Baccus, you even acknowledge that those PAID to think and act for us `abstain` from voting in the `houses` but then get snippy when I say voters `should` be able to officially `abstain`, counted, recorded and reported. I think the data would be very interesting.

  81. Not interfering in your RIGHT to abrogate your responsibiity 730reportland – I actually agree that there should be an option to abstain from voting on the ballot form – that would separate the donkey and informal vote from those intentionally choosing to vote for no-one.

    HOWEVER, anyone choosing such an option also forfeits the right to bitch about the consequences of said election. Participate and enjoy the rights, along with the responsibility…

  82. No election is going to please everyone, but the more people involved the less chance you have of general discontent, and violent uprisings by people convinced they have been disenfranchised. I think Australia’s stable government is largely due to the fact that most people who are eligible are also required to vote, as well as the fact that Australian elections are well and honestly run.

    I hand out HTVs on election days very often, and enjoy meeting the people coming to vote. There are people who seem affronted to be required to vote, but by and large most people feel it is what it is ~ a necessary duty.

    One group who never ever seem to complain are those obvious immigrants from countries where voting is not compulsory, in fact is sometimes not even permitted. Also, women of any age are far less likely to complain than young men, from what I’ve observed.

    And I’m surprised someone would assume they know how I vote. You don’t 🙂

  83. I enjoy your Long-form spouting Christine.
    I don`t know, nor presume to know what you voted,
    I suspect you`re running the willful blindness on this,
    so I will correct.
    And if ANYBODY voted alp because of Rudd in 2007, who then didn`t get to complete his term, So-called democracy Huh.
    You also dragged in the UN Christine.
    Don`t they say voting should not have compulsory registration.

  84. I cant get my head around ..’why’.. you (or anyone) wouldn’t want to vote…… its the one thing that you truly own.. (politicaly speak’n)… put up or *shut the F* up*

  85. Yes, the UN was possibly a long bow, but I thought it made a tidy example of how this sort of thing can go. Not well in that instance. The UN follow the no compulsion line in voting, but as in many things it’s an issue I disagree with them on.

    Re the Rudd ’07 election, I’m not sure I agree. To some extent I guess people were voting personalities (although I think Kevin’s was a bit now you see it, now you don’t) but the parties get to choose their leaders and the ALP voted fairly comprehensively for Gillard.

    It certainly wasn’t the worst political knifing I’ve ever seen (Bill Hayden and John Gorton wouldn’t disagree, surely?) but it was quickly settled when his colleagues and underlings made it pretty clear they wouldn’t work with or for him. From outside he seemed affable and occasionally inspired, inside I think he was very driven. But a leader who can’t maintain the loyalty of those he leads, or the respect of those he pays, is probably best sent packing as quickly as possible.

  86. Yes Christine, I see where you`re coming from, which is the alp/leadership point of view, which I don`t disagree with.

    Where I am coming from is the `consumer-advocate` side, if you will. The dis-honest `marketing` to the voter. The dis-enfranchised voter. While I know, and most here probably know, the party chooses the leader, thus leader becomes prime`meddler. But continually advertising the Rudd government etc then the party stops the public from evaluating Rudd, does seem to be a `cheat` in the system to a lot of the public. Maybe, and I only say maybe, a mass abstain vote may have sent a very loud message to Canberra. Which I think may have lead to system improvements.

  87. Sorry … I was just ask’n 7.30 to put some *flesh* on what ya trying to say…. plus… and then I maybe ended up in the *spaminator*
    I dont get this:- ” But continually advertising the Rudd government etc then the party stops the public from evaluating Rudd, does seem to be a `cheat` in the system to a lot of the public.” ….. umm???? 😕

  88. My sorry 730. I was talking about 2010 but threw in the Liberal Party room vote as you mentioned Turnbull being ousted by the Libs.

    Much confusion, me bad.

    You make some good points but the problem I see is that it’s hard to qualify why people voted the way they did.

    We know there is a core of rusted on ideological voters that’s about even for both major parties, so their reasons are fairly well understood and known, though their rationale for being core followers would be diverse. I’ve heard different figures for the core numbers of around 20% to 30% each major party.

    Both parties mostly don’t attempt to pander to their core supporters though they will dog whistle, especially the Right.

    So it’s all about wooing those who aren’t solidly rusted on, those called the battlers.

    Your statement that I was applying the percentage to was: “Yes the 2010 election pleased everyone, didn`t it. ..”

    Apart from the fact no election or ascension to rule ever in the history of the planet pleases everyone, I took it as being you were saying those not pleased were because of the minority government.

    I think after he realised he had lost the election Abbott would have been pleased with a minority government as he thought it was an open misère to bring it down in short time, and that would have applied to some on side and his supporters.

  89. LOVO .. 2007/Kevin07/pre-knifing While I know, and most here probably know, the party chooses the leader, thus leader becomes prime`meddler. But continually advertising the Rudd government etc
    This is the `fault` of,
    1- The AEC for not having timely information/advertising that does not provide `consumer-education` to the voters, particularly first-time voters.
    2- The embedded media, who fails journalistic ideals every election, by never taking first-time voters into account and are too busy with Lame-Arse games of `Gotcha`.

  90. Thanks for that 7.30….. as for abstain’n……
    “One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors.”

  91. George, now thats a three word slogan looking for a placard….. 😉 ( I assume your talking aboot Alan ‘anul’ Jones)

  92. Mobius, not a problem, confusion happens. I couldn`t agree more about the duopoly rusted-ons, but only add the nationals, greens and democrats (until they imploded) have them too. Which I have no truck with, they are `highly-satisfied` consumers.

    There is the bigger group in the middle, the swinging, uncommitted, undecided, voter, who for all various reasons are hard to qualify, how, why, what they voted for. And this is I suspect, the dis-enfranchisement of the voter, by the duopoly, and the 2010 election result.

  93. Oh sorry Mobius, I Left-off, the `water-melon` minority government is failing, crumbling and the sky is falling bullshit the embedded media screech on about is total crap and in no way represents reality.

  94. But they are always there, 2010, 2007 and every election previously. That’s my point. It seems that most are now not that worried about being disenfranchised by a minority government as the right wing media and opposition bullshit is being stripped away.

    When the election comes they will vote mostly on hip pocket stuff and will vote a government out or in, not vote an opposition out or in, just as they nearly always do, and that’s fair enough, it’s the way I vote. Only proviso for me is I always vote for my local candidate and not the party they belong to, and I know that means I’m voting the party as they mostly are party apparatchiks. My last local was an exception, which is why she was shunned by the party.

  95. Yes Mobius, its really my very poor wording again. Dis-enfranchised always exist on election results. No doubt.

    The 2010 election it-self, was so dis-enfranchising. It was terrible. Both sides of the duopoly stayed on message, to the point of insanity. Joolya droned `moving-forward` until our ears bled. Mr-Rabbit screeched `crap` Coalitions Real Action Plan until we banged our head on the wall. And the embedded media megaphone as much nonsense at us as they possibly could. Grogsgamut was dead right on the election reporting.

  96. I use to support voluntary voting on the basis that nobody should ever be forced to vote if they don’t want too. However, I’ve come to the belief that voluntary voting will only lead to a small amount of people voting which would generally exclude the lower classes who would be most unlikely to attend to vote.

    (my bold).

    Awombatsweb, I couldn’t agree more and it hits the nail on the head as to why the Libs wants to get rid of it.

  97. Is that,
    Idiots who passed similar `patriot-act` type regs like John-W-Howard`s regime, Miglo, OR,

    Idiots pushing for `eavesdropping/wire-tapping` regs that Joolya`s regime has just pushed for.

  98. When voting is voluntary, the lower socio economic citizens do not vote because they have jobs to go to and with deregulation of employment, many have 2 or 3 jobs to go to, as they a being paid too few hours for 1 job.

    The Democrats in the USA actually organise buses to drive workers who are supporters to polling stations during their lunch breaks to vote, because unlike Australia the USA election is held on a working week day. A major advantage for the Republican Party.

  99. The workday polling in the US is quiet deliberate to disenfranchise certain demographics as is the setting up of booths in often difficult to get to locations for certain groups but not for others.

  100. Guys, it’s not only America that has voluntary voting. Almost all democracies have it. In fact only nine other countries enforce compulsory voting and NONE are great bastions of democratic freedom – far from it. Chile recently abolished compulsory voting due to falling voter turnouts. We should do the same. Here, about 10% are not even registered to vote and we have high levels of donkey votes, invalid votes and blind guesses. So our 81% turnouts could be as low as 60%, but who knows? All compulsory voting does is hide the truth and inevitably push voter turnouts downward. Is that what you want? Our turnouts (even at the inflated 81%) are lower than many nations where voting is voluntary, including Sweden, Denmark, Iceland…

  101. So Jason you are inferring that because we have compulsory voting we aren’t a great bastion of democratic freedom.

    I think you are attempting to compare apples with pears in cherry picking countries to compare.

    The levels of donkey and invalid votes are tracked so it’s a known figure and reported each election. The number of unregistered voters is also a known figure, so I don’t know where you get the 60% from.

    Part of the reason for the number of unregistered voters is the manipulation of them, like Howard did so as to exclude demographics that are unfavourable to the conservatives. The same and worse would happen under voluntary voting where major parties would do everything they could to exclude those demographics and areas that are unfavourable to them, and it would be the government of the day that would have the best opportunities to accomplish this.

    If you believe the US voluntary system is better than our compulsory system then I believe you have a misconception somewhere.

    Another point about voluntary voting is that it well empower lobby groups and entail the raising of obscene amounts of money for parties and individual politicians to entice people to vote or discourage those demographics who usually vote only one way or another. It allows for greater manipulation of the process with the side garnering the most money usually winning the day.

    If you think our political advertising leading up to elections is bad now then think of how much worse it would be in a voluntary voting system. Just look at Planet America and the examples they play every show to see that in action.

    My final point is that voluntary voting mostly favours the conservative side of politics, which is why they are the ones always bringing up voluntary voting. That alone makes it unfair as compared to compulsory voting no matter what percentage actually properly vote. The system is fairer because those who do vote are more evenly representative of all parties and candidates for each area, and those who donkey vote mainly do so because they don’t like any of the candidates or parties on offer so get their representation that way.

    The increased number of informal votes at all levels of government at the moment is a reflection of the politics on offer, and I suggest because one side is dragging down the political discussion in this country, which is frustrating and angering many voters. Fix up the politics and get back to policy and competency based interlocution, also hold the media to a higher standard of non-biased and accurate political reporting, and I believe you will considerably less informal voting and higher registrations.

  102. Mobius, I have noticed during this thread that many folks are saying don`t change the system and `mix` issues. Jason has just quoted sweden, iceland, denmark. Your basic reply is their culture/system is `so` different and Jason is `cherry`picking.

    I said earlier,
    30% to 40% is the normal voter turn-out in usa, uk, nz and canada, keep this in mind.
    Hypothetically, isn`t then the Australian vote 60% to 70% `fraudulent` if our non-compuslory voter turn-out `would` be similar to the similar-countries above.???
    I suspect it is.

    Which everybody avoided like the plague.
    uk, nz, ca, usa, are alike culturally to au, and au, nz, ca, originate from the uk political model

  103. Mobius .. ” Another point about voluntary voting is that it well empower lobby groups and entail the raising of obscene amounts of money for parties and individual politicians to entice people to vote or discourage those demographics who usually vote only one way or another. It allows for greater manipulation of the process with the side garnering the most money usually winning the day.”
    This type of stuff is crap This is a regulation issue, policing the system issue, allowed funding issue. It has nothing to do with compulsory voting.

  104. Trust me, from democracies outside of Australia like the UK (where I live) your coerced voting system makes you look like a totalitarian state that’s afraid of your own citizens’ indifference. Only a totalitarian state would require such uniform conformity to the government’s self-serving goals. e.g. in Soviet Russia anybody who wanted to get on had to show they were a ‘good’ communist by joining the Communist Party, in Nazi Germany the same applied only with the NSDAP; in Australia it’s “show your commitment to being governed by us by turning up to support the system like a ‘good’ citizen, or else we’ll fine you, take your driving licence away, and generally make your life difficult”.

    Don’t get me wrong – the UK is no better (even though we don’t have to vote here. Yet.) Here, we get threatened with fines and a criminal record for failing not to *register* vote. They don’t actually care whether you participate in the ridiculous pretence of selecting your next dictator every five years or not. And when we do register, our details get sold to private companies like Credit Reference Agencies. Whether we want to apply for credit or not. We have no say whatever in whether our own personal data that’s meant to be used for running elections should be passed to these private companies. Meanwhile, politicians of course don’t allow their own electoral registration data sold to Credit Reference Agencies “for security reasons”. How nice for them. It is a clear case of one law written by them and for them (and their pals in big business), and another for us. The system is designed against the interests of individuals, and for the interests of politicians and big business. But it’s us that will get a criminal record if we don’t submit our data to this big business debt collection database when ordered? What a joke.

    Anybody who thinks coerced participation in such an obviously-corrupt system is “normal”, is simply institutionalised. You’re like an abused spouse that’s been punched for so long you mistake it for affection/attention when you’re government has the gall to persecute you merely for being totally disinterested in what they have to offer. I’m pretty sure the Suffragettes found for the *right* to vote. Not the obligation of being compelled to do so.

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