14 Jan 2013

In Defence Of Compulsory Voting

By Alex White
Campbell Newman doesn't like compulsory voting - even though it originated in Queensland. It's part of our democratic makeup and delivers more equitable elections, writes Alex White
You wouldn't know from its current premier, but Queensland was the first state in Australia to introduce compulsory voting. It did so in 1915 and nine years later, Western Australian Nationalist Party MP Edward Mann introduced the bill to expand compulsory voting across Australia.

Ninety-eight years later, Campbell Newman's LNP government in Queensland has proposed that compulsory voting be abandoned in that state.

Australia has compulsory voting primarily because in the 24 years after Federation, voter participation dropped to dangerously low levels — as low as 28 per cent.

The controversial response from the conservative parliament was to require Australians to vote.

In this country, unlike in America, we  do not worship our constitution. Whereas the US constitution proclaims a government by "We the people", in Australia, we more prosaically note that "The House of Representatives shall be composed of members directly chosen by the people of the Commonwealth".

It's worth emphasising that it says "directly chosen by the people". It doesn't say "chosen by half of the people", or "15 per cent of the people".

When voting gets as low as 28 per cent, democracy is endangered. This is what the conservative government realised in 1924. Low participation entrenches inequality. It threatens the legitimacy of our country's government because a low vote ensures that only a minority is represented instead of a majority.

In particular, such small voter turnout fosters a mindset amongst politicians, the civil service and the business community that elections are a burden and an interruption. With a minority of society deciding the government for the majority, it is easier than ever for special interests to distort public policy.

Low turnout is a problem for almost every country in the world — especially our closest cultural peers, the USA and UK. Even with rockstar candidates like Obama, participation rarely peaks about 65 per cent. Voter turnout fell from 62.3 per cent in 2008 to an estimated 57.5 per cent in 2012.

What's more, the 2012 election saw unprecedented attempts by Republicans, bankrolled by conservative billionaires and multinational corporations, to suppress the vote of African Americans, Latinos and young people.

Expanding the number of people who vote is not only virtuous in itself. It helps defend our democracy and ensures it is more likely to act in the interests of all the people, not a moneyed minority.

Unequal voter participation has other negative consequences. The people least likely to vote under voluntary systems are people from the least privileged backgrounds. They are people with low incomes, or from ethnic backgrounds, or with less education.

In most industrialised countries, it is age and education that have most impact on whether you vote or not. This means that younger people are less likely to vote — not because they're lazy, but because they have less access to free time, less income, less time to devote to civic activities (not all young people are Arts students after all).

If you accept that our goal in a democracy should be to maximise participation and maximise voting — whether you think it's good in itself, or because it gives a voice to everyone in our community — there are a number of ways to get more people to vote.

The government could spend vast sums of money in social marketing campaigns (which it does for things like fire-safety and anti-smoking campaigns). It is dubious how effective this kind of awareness raising and education is.

You could rely on the political parties to mobilise supporters to get to the polls to vote. Unfortunately, as we see in other countries, this largely results in a vocal minority dominating the public discourse (witness the Tea Party in the USA).

Because the motivated minority is more likely to vote and to dominate the debate, it is actually in their interest to try to depress the turnout of opposition groups. We've seen this with the voter suppression laws that Republicans introduced in many states in the USA.

The experience in other countries like the UK and USA, and in Australia before 1924, shows that turnout still rarely gets above 80 per cent, and are more likely to be less than 65 pe rcent. And this is after decades of government awareness programs and party "Get Out The Vote" operations.

Simply, compulsory voting can help rapidly raise participation in voting. It is immediate and addresses both low turnout and the inequality of participation. In the 24 elections since 1946, voter participation has averaged above 94 per cent.

What's more, there are additional benefits to compulsory voting, above and beyond the strengthening of our democracy.

Without having to mobilise minority sections of the community, politicians instead must focus on making a case for support. Our democracy in Australia is more centrist and more stable. Compare to the extreme polarisation of the USA, where a minority holds the entire country to hostage in high stake ideological battles over the debt ceiling or fiscal cliff.

Clearly, there are people who really don't want to vote, and our current compulsory voting laws do not prevent that; it allows for conscientious objectors and legimitate excuses for being unable to access a voting booth. No-one is unnecessarily penalised.

The argument that compulsory voting is incompatible with democratic government, patently doesn't apply to Australia — one of the most open, transparent, representative, and least corrupt nations on earth.

Other arguments say that it encourages uninformed voting. Who's to say whether voters are informed or not? After almost a century of compulsory voting, who's to say whether most people vote for fear of a $20 fine or because they recognise the value of this small act of civic participation? In any case, it is not immoral to cast an uninformed vote or to not vote conscientiously.

Finally, the argument that individual liberty is impinged by compulsory voting is the weakest of all. The requirement to attend the polling booth once every three years violates no essential liberties.

As Edward Mann said, individual liberty is freedom from unnecessary legal control; political liberty is participation in legal control. You can't have genuine individual liberty while refusing to participate in the system that regulates the society you live in. In fact, when a wide majority of people participate in the political process, it acts as a guard against invasions of individual liberty.

Voting and participating is a public good; everyone benefits even if their candidate doesn't get elected. Large-scale non-voting threatens our political liberties and can create dangerous inequality in our democracy.

The voluntary alternative, while not undemocratic (compared to systems where no-one can vote), is less democratic than our compulsory voting system. That's why Australia should be proud of our compulsory voting, and defend it.

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Fiona M
Posted Monday, January 14, 2013 - 13:16

Hear, hear! I really don't think it's such an impost on Australians' 'democratic freedoms' to ask us to get off our backsides every few years and have a say in who's running the country.

What's more, it's easy for political parties to ignore the number of people who don't vote, or who vote informally. It's far harder for them to ignore people who decide to give their vote to an independent candidate, or to one from another party - because they're quite literally a known quantity. If a party knows how many voters they've lost, they know how many they need to win back, and they'll go to great lengths to do so. Just look at the way the Nationals treat Tony Windsor and Rob Oakeshott!

Posted Monday, January 14, 2013 - 14:32

Let's not allow the facts to get in the way of a good rant.

The Qld Government HAS NOT proposed that compulsory voting be abandoned. It's released a discussion paper canvassing public opinion on a wide range of possible electoral changes. On the issue of compulsory voting the discussion paper, in a section running to just a few short paragraphs, puts the arguments for and against compulsory voting. It then notes that The Joint Standing Committee on Electoral Matters in its report on the conduct of the 1996 federal
election recommended that ‘if Australia is to consider itself a mature democracy’ compulsory voting should be abolished’, but adds that this committee did not make this recommendation in its reports on subsequent federal elections.

The only comment that the discussion paper itself makes on the the issue is that "removing the requirement for compulsory voting in state elections has the potential to cause voter confusion as voting in federal and local government elections would still be compulsory".

But hey, for Campbell Newman's critics this is enough to give them yet another stick to beat him over the head with.

Posted Monday, January 14, 2013 - 14:34

While it may not be immoral to cast an uninformed vote or to not vote conscientiously, if enough voters do so, Australia may end up with mediocre governments at all levels – as, indeed, seems to already be the case. Today, the Cairns Post newspaper published results of a reader survey in which 90% of (the 1000+) respondents did not know the mayor’s name, more than a quarter did not know the name of their state MP, and more than a third did not know the name of their federal MP. If the reader survey is in any way representative of the local population, it suggests many Cairns citizens give even less thought as to whom they vote for than they do as to which supermarket they patronise. I wonder how the rest of the nation would compare.

Posted Monday, January 14, 2013 - 16:16

Our voter turnouts are not above 90%, they're only about 81%.

See the AEC website... "In other words, more than three million Australians did not exercise their franchise at the 2010 election in the formation of our Government, or roughly one in five of those entitled to do so." http://www.aec.gov.au/about_aec/Publications/speeches/new-debate.htm

And this site has voter turnout figures for Australia and other countries: http://www.idea.int/vt/countryview.cfm?id=15

Look at VAP (Voting Age Population) turnout figures because Australia has a high number of unregistered voters (around 10%), which the AEC usually excludes from the sums and they also include invalid votes to make our voter turnouts appear higher than they really are.

Our turnouts are actually lower than many countries with voluntary voting - Sweden, Denmark, Iceland.

Countries with voluntary voting people only vote because they WANT to vote. Here people file into the polling booths like donkeys to avoid a fine. You can hardly compare forced polling booth attendance with voluntary electoral participation... they're not the same thing.

Under voluntary voting turnouts can be higher because the politicians need to educate, motivate, inspire and empower people rather than relying on threats and fines.

We should all have the same free and equal right to vote, free from government coercion.

Australia should have democratic voting. We should encourage people to vote using peaceful means... the democratic way, instead of the fascist way.

Many countries with voluntary voting have higher voter turnouts than we do...you'd better believe it!

Fran Barlow
Posted Monday, January 14, 2013 - 17:49

Speaking as someone on the far left of politics, I'm against compulsory voting. The last thing I want are low-information voters finding some frivolous reason to vote for some representative of the boss class. Well that's not quite true in Federal elections. I haven't cast a formal vote in one of those since 1977. There's simply no way I'm voting for a party that represents the boss class <i>or giving them a preference</i>.

Your broader point -- participation -- is not addressed, except at the purely frivolous level -- by coercion. What you need to do is to convince people that their participation is meaningful. If it isn't (and let's face it -- the anarchists are almost right when they say that if voting could change things it would be illegal) then you should be aiming to make it meaningful. Of course, the boss class doesn't because the system is currently working just fine -- <i>for them</i>. It's not clear whether non-compulsory voting would lead to worse results from an equity POV. I'm inclined to think the left would get the better end of the bargain -- since more of us might believe that our votes would make a difference, but certainly, it's hard to see matters getting much worse. The Campbell Newman regime was after all put there by compulsory voting. Compulsory voting has given us a bipartisan consensus on beating up asylum seekers. It has left us with a press run by arguably the most dangerous criminal mastermind in the world. Compulsory voting didn't stop Australia becoming involved in 2 US-led wars or even an early exit from either of them. It hasn't helped our indigenous very much. It hasn't stopped private school funding or given us robust action on climate change, or adequate public housing or even gay marriage or voluntary euthanasia or an end to live exports.

Instead, it has given us something like a game show in which the ostensibly less repulsive of two repulsive parties attracts enough votes in marginal seats from people who might as easily vote the other way if on the way to the polling booth they heard some half-baked story on the radio to win. I don't call that participation or informed consent.

So include me in those who says bring on voluntary voting. There are far better reforms I could suggest but as things stand, that's probably about as much as one could expect.

Posted Monday, January 14, 2013 - 19:19

Thanks for the comments.

Jadran - Several senior LNP members of parliament from a State and Federal level came out and supported a change to voluntary voting.

Frankap - Where there's voluntary voting, there is still a large (perhaps even larger) lack of awareness of the names of politicians. Also, voluntary voting is no guard against mediocre government. Witness the UK Tories/Lib Dems. In any case, in Australia most people vote "for the brand".

Jasonpk - Given that Australia does not have election day registration, the voter turnout number is based on enrolled voters. Unenrolled people is a separate (although important) issue to compulsory voting. In voluntary voting countries, there's no automatic guarantee that people are empowered or motivated or inspired and to say that "many" countries with higher voting is just wrong. Also, the simple reality is that under voluntary voting, there is no "equal right to vote" because some demographic groups for various reasons find it harder to vote under voluntary systems. Minorities in most voluntary voting countries are under-represented in voter turnout. By the way, you are clearly completely and utterly nuts if you think that compulsory voting is the "fascist way".

Fran - the corporatisation of government and the two-party system is utterly separate from compulsory voting. You don't like the parties, fine. Compulsory voting gave us Howard and Newman. It gave us John Curtin and Whitlam, decriminalisation of abortion, Medicare, got us out of Vietnam, etc etc. Ludicrous argument to place Iraq at the feet of compulsory voting. It is dangerously elitist to suggest that people voting against your preference to be uninformed or "low information". People are coerced to participate in all kinds of things that are good for them -- like compulsory public education, council recycling, speeding limits and wearing seat belts, etc. Voluntary voting definitely does not end up with more progressive government. Voluntary voting saw the election of George Bush twice, of Margaret Thatcher, Sarkozy, etc, so is no panacea.

Fran Barlow
Posted Monday, January 14, 2013 - 19:36

Alex White:

<blockquote>You don’t like the parties, fine</blockquote>

Not fine. I am compelled, if I want my vote to be formal, to vote for one of them. I don't claim or imply that voluntary voting is a panacea -- no person could ever claim a voting system to be that. It might, at least force the ALP to stop pandering to the right since its own base could stay home.

<blockquote>It is dangerously elitist to suggest that people voting against your preference to be uninformed or “low information”.</blockquote>

That's just silly. Polls taken on a regular basis show that the public is under-informed about a great many things -- not just politics. It's understandable -- since most people, as far as I can tell, accept that they are irrelevant to policy making, and feel little need to pay attention to the details. They will read the headlines and not much more. That's not elitist. It's a recognition of the world as it is.

What is needed is a system the predisposes people to think their well-informed opinions are germane.

Posted Monday, January 14, 2013 - 20:15

Response to Alex White:

You comment in response to my post that "Several senior LNP members of parliament from a State and Federal level came out and supported a change to voluntary voting".

But that's not what your original article stated. In that you claimed ..."Campbell Newman’s LNP government in Queensland has proposed that compulsory voting be abandoned in that state". That's plain untrue as any fair reading of the government's discussion paper will confirm. Don't try to re-write your claim now.

Posted Monday, January 14, 2013 - 20:16

Fran Barlow, Bravo.

compulsory voting is only as good as the two Horses or the Person/Persons who own the Horses. In our case 2 horses same owner, he makes the money we just bet on them. Its the economy stupid.

As long as we dig it up, sell it and make plenty Tax Money so governments can hand it out to buy votes for and on behalf of who ever wants the war or control of Australias only wealth creation then most of the sheep are happy. They'll make some noise but as soon as the dogs come they'll move on. Milking Cows and Breeding Cows thats us.

Humans are a Pack Animal with a Pack Mentality, just like a dog. Dog is God, church always was control of the pack for the few who have traced their beginnings back to God on our Behalf, as long as we don't get to Riot or Stampede stage their right, we are wrong, their right we are left, left behind.

AH! Thought Bubbles! Constant Loop Theory! What goes round comes around, everything old is new again, yesterdays Enemies are todays friends and tommorows enemies.

America's Founding Fathers hated Democracy thats why they didn't give America's Democracy to the Germans after WW2, because their Democracy is a Marilyn Monroe Democracy, BULL. A Platex Support Bra and Panty Girdle Democracy. Myth, Lie, Hype, Glamour. They gave the world every Depression for the last 150 odd years and they led to wars to make America's founding Fathers Rich.
The Old England and then the New England, everything old is new again, The Grubs just went and found themselves a bigger Island, the little one of the Coast of Europe was getting a bit exhausted its people, Mental Cases.

Now America is Exhausted, its people Nut Cases, all the Top soil blew away with the wind, over farmed, over mined, Raped.

Just like most Mothers she is Exhausted and will be forgotten by her Brood, selfish little Toads. The Question, was she a good Mother to begin with or was she too, doomed to failure from birth.

Humans, far too clever for our own good?

Posted Tuesday, January 15, 2013 - 07:24


How am I "wrong". Look at the facts:

The AEC itself says our turnouts are only about 80%. (you must count all eligible voters) But even still, our turnouts count donkey votes and blind guesses so comparing voluntary turnouts with compulsory turnouts is not really a fair comparison.

Sweden VAP turnout - 82.63 (democratic voting)
Denmark VAP turnout - 81.83 (democratic voting)
Iceland VAP turnout - 84.74 (democratic voting)
Australia VAP turnout - 81.02 (coerced voting)


Alex, under voluntary voting those leaders who are unable to educate, inform, motivate inspire or empower support will be replaced by leaders who can.

You say some people find it harder to vote in voluntary systems... So your answer is to stick a gun in their face and say "vote or else" and before you tell me it's only a $50 fine, remember that if the fine was not enforced then people would not have any need to pay it. So the fine is enforced with threats of violence.

Why not encourage people to vote using peaceful means like education? Why not empower people rather than stealing their power away? Why not give ALL people the same freedom to choose for themselves.

Why do you think some people find it more difficult to vote unless they are forced with threats and fines? Maybe they find it harder to vote because their leaders aren't out there encouraging them to vote or explaining why they should vote. Our leaders rely on threats and fines instead. And some people, in spite of many countries with voluntary voting having higher turnouts than we do, still love compulsory voting. Why? Do you just love the idea of forcing people against their will to act?

You can choose peace or you can choose violence. We're supposed to live in a democracy... THE ENDS DO NOT JUSTIFY THE MEANS!!!

Posted Tuesday, January 15, 2013 - 13:30

"But that’s not what your original article stated. In that you claimed …”Campbell Newman’s LNP government in Queensland has proposed that compulsory voting be abandoned in that state”. That’s plain untrue as any fair reading of the government’s discussion paper will confirm. Don’t try to re-write your claim now."

You're right in pointing out that the Discussion Paper came first, but the comments that followed from senior members of the Newman Government were very supportive of the idea. So, yes, perhaps that original comment could be tightened up a bit, but 'plain untrue' is going a bit far.

Then again, your first post in defence of the Newman Government, in which you don't mention the senior members' comments, could be construed as your suggesting that the Discussion Paper exists in isolation.

Posted Tuesday, January 15, 2013 - 14:07

It is of course not compulsory to vote. It is compulsory to turn up, take a ballot paper and put it in the ballot box. From my experience scrutineering various elections, it is pretty clear that many people understand this and happily submit a completely untouched ballot paper.

Posted Tuesday, January 15, 2013 - 16:51

Not only do I not like this compulsory turning up, I don't like the preferential voting system. In the end my vote ends up with one of the two big parties, or it ends in a black hole.
Representative voting would give smaller parties at least a chance to make it into parliament.

Posted Tuesday, January 15, 2013 - 17:41

Preferential voting does not necessarily disadvantage smaller parties - just ask Andrew Wilkie - he came third on first preferences.

If you're after proportional voting, like we have in the Senate, the preferential component there can often even more important for small parties, hence how Steve Fielding from Family First got elected and how there is a DLP Senator from Victoria in the current Parliament.

peter hindrup
Posted Tuesday, January 15, 2013 - 23:42

peter hindrup:

So Alex White steps up to defend the indefensible? Only 28 percent turned out to vote, so let’s make it compulsory to vote! Only goes to show that political parties were woeful then, too.

Imagine opening a business, phone doesn’t ring, nobody comes through the door — you either rethink what you are trying to sell, or pack up and go lie on the beach. But not if you are a politician! Oh no! Hire some thugs to beat up anybody who dares to pass your door without entering. Great idea!

If you want people to vote for you, provide a reason for them to be bothered. Allow them to vote for the candidate, or sequently candidates, that they believe can contribute to the welfare of Australia, who have an opinion, who will represent their electorate. That would eliminate 90 percent of those in any level of Australian government.

Don’t expect to get away with this approximately $2:50 per primary vote, and this compulsory preferential nonsense which merely amount to the majors finally getting the vote to tag on to their two party preferred, which is utter drivel. Allow people to cut the preference where they believe talent ends, so that they vote only for those whom they believe might be capable of contributing.

Yes, sadly, in many electorates that would mean leaving the paper blank.

Nobody mentioned New Zealand, but with the adoption of Mixed Member Proportional (MMP) system has given NZers — those who choose to vote — a chance to vote for candidates more closely attuned to what they believe to be right for the country. — unfortunately they are still attempting to cram the parliament into the two party mode, but this will hopefully pass in time.

Compelling people to vote simply means that no effort is made by the political parties to develop policies which will motivate people to get out and vote. An example is how both majors cower at the boots of the US, ignore the widespread view in the electorate that Australia ought not have a military presence in the Middle East. Under the present system people who vote, will end up ‘supporting’ one of the majors. This raises the question, why vote?

Let us have candidates who oppose the wars, who oppose the treatment of refugees, who oppose the support for Israel, and let us vote for them, not have the vote trickle down.

Compulsory voting democratic? Why don’t the politicians just toss a coin and split the ‘voting figures’ on the outcome. This would save a hell of a lot of money, the result would be no different, and we would not be bothered.

Posted Wednesday, January 16, 2013 - 01:46

Voting at election time, Commonwealth, State or Local Government, is a privilege, I think. But if someone doesn't want to vote all they have to do to avoid a fine is to show up at the voting centre to register that you have been and bin the electoral papers. Personally I like to have my vote!!

I wish someone would tell Julia Gillard that when she clams her mouth shut hard and thins her lips she is not looking resolute but arrogant and unattractive. Very off-putting!!

Dr Dog
Posted Wednesday, January 16, 2013 - 08:41

Come on Jadran, Newman would love it. You know it, I know it. To play the Queens Council about who said it and when ignores the now established character of the Queensland premier.

For myself I love compulsory voting. For a start and unlike Fran Barlow I trust the system. Anyone complaining about the state of our democracy has a case of first world blight. Don't you people watch the television?

Further to that it is one of the few moments where we actually require a contribution to the community. Even those who complain about having to vote generally leave with a smile, perhaps because they visited a local school, ate a sausage sandwich, complained to a neighbour about compulsory voting and are now off to the early opener for to quench voter's thirst. It is a required service to the greater good and most folk I know love it.

I wish someone would tell Betty that hassling the prime minister because of how she looks makes her appear small minded and unattractive. Very off-putting! I think she is closing her mouth hard so she won't give you the reply you deserve Betty.

This user is a New Matilda supporter. outrider
Posted Wednesday, January 16, 2013 - 08:55

It is unfortunate that compulsory voting is a shorthand for compulsory attendance at the ballot box, as already pointed out. Attendance is surely not too much of an imposition.

A more realistic possibility for change is optional preferential for Federal, as already introduced by the ALP in NSW and Qld. This gets rid of some of the objections posted.

I have suggested a position at the bottom of the voting slip 'None of the above' for people wanting to express disgust at the candidates or politics in general. Probably get a substantial nunber of votes at the next election, including some of your correspondents.

Of courese you can voice your opinion on any issue you like on the ballot paper and still be valid, provided the numbers are clear. Some time ago "No Dams' was successful enough to turn policies. I personally will be putting 'Reduce Immigration' on mine.

Posted Wednesday, January 16, 2013 - 23:03

I thought this was interesting enough to write about on my website, too, and those interested should go to www.donaitkin.com to see. On the whole, I agree with Alex White.

Posted Thursday, January 17, 2013 - 21:29

Dr Dog, Betty's thing is a womans thing, us men don't understand this looks business. We don't care about the wrapping just whats under it.
The Lips, well Mantel Piece.

Posted Thursday, January 17, 2013 - 21:41

Well, we women make up at least half if not more of the voting public. This lip closing act is a relatively recent expression - it makes PM Gillard look implacable as well as the rest afore mentioned. She should try to look more pleasant - it would help her image for voting public - men and women.

Posted Friday, January 18, 2013 - 04:21

I was in court for failing to vote on the day I received a letter from the electoral commission, telling me to explain my reasons for not voting at the local elections.

I told the Prosecutor for the AEC, that I didn't even know about these elections & he laughed as he told me that they only had a 23% turnout & doesn't think they'll even bother with a summons for that one.

I think it is fair to be questioned for failing to vote when there has been sufficient advertising that there is an election on, but when it comes & goes without mention on TV or any other form of advertising, then that's just as sleazy as the bastards running the show.

As I refuse to vote for a religious paedophile cult, I stand for my conscientious objection as an Atheist & against the government run child molestation support networks of the religious institution & their so called 'God Given right' to to do so. This has landed me two lots of court cost's fines equaling over a thousand dollars & because of the courts continuing paedophile cult coverup & the ongoing excuse, that "this is Christianity" & then told I am not religious, so my reason does not count in Christian terms, another day to argue my conscientious objection & probably looking forward to more fines & court costs from the child molesters pimps.

Dr Dog
Posted Friday, January 18, 2013 - 08:23

I am not so sure of that Betty. When she finally showed her annoyance with Tony and gave it to him in parliament she went up about four points in the polls. Perhaps we don't want a Stepford wife but a living breathing woman as prime minister, with enough toughness not to care what the Women's Day set say about her looks.

Ah jackal, I won't be drawn into a discussion about how women perpetrate and maintain sexisim against women. That's for another time.

Posted Saturday, January 19, 2013 - 03:25

Well, Dr. Dog, that event in Parliament was another bag again and she did well. What I'm referring to is more general as she is out and about and facing the news media. Thinning your lips at the end of a statement is not an enhancing expression for anyone. And she has not always done this until after she bacame PM and now she always does it after making a statement.

Posted Tuesday, January 22, 2013 - 19:27

I haven't voted since my first and only vote 32 years ago.
I will not vote till the preferential voting system is removed.
The preferential system guarantees control by either one of the duopoly party system.
I want ONE vote,
I don't want my vote filtering down to someone I don't want to vote for.

It's time to register that we don't believe in either Labor or Liberal.
There is a high probability a vote for a minor will become a vote for either Labor or Liberal.

No vote is a vote for neither.

Don't just be informal.

Go well,

Posted Wednesday, January 23, 2013 - 04:23

@ bigtreeman - good on ya!

Give me a democracy and I will participate with my vote, until then, shove it up your nose, I'd rather pay the fine.

Posted Wednesday, January 23, 2013 - 16:59

Neoliberalism that is now dominant in Western countries - and as most egregiously exampled in environment-devastating Queensland - involves maximizing the freedom of the smart and the advantaged to maximize their wealth at the expense of the disadvantaged, the less smart, Humanity and the Biosphere. The alternative is Social Humanism that involves the evolution of social humanist values and social contracts to maximize human happiness, opportunity and dignity (read Professor Brian Ellis' important book "Social Humanism. A New Metaphysics"; see: http://mwcnews.net/focus/analysis/20947-social-humanism.html ). However attainment of this ideal is crippled by the Western reality that democracy has become Murdochracy, Lobbyocracy and Corporatocracy in which Big Money buys politicians, policies, public perception of reality and votes - and abolition of compulsory voting will help entrench this evil, anti-democratic perversion.

A second reason is that a society should held accountable for its actions and compulsory voting underpins that accountability. Thus, for example, Australia has been complicit in over 20 genocidal atrocities (7 ongoing in the 21 st century) (see "Australia's secret genocide history": https://sites.google.com/site/aboriginalgenocide/australia-s-secret-geno... ) and is a world leader in the worsening Climate Genocide in which 5 million people die each year from climate change and carbon burning, with this carnage set to increase to 100 million such deaths by 2030 with BAU and the whole of humanity at risk (see "Climate Genocide" : https://sites.google.com/site/climategenocide/ and "Are we doomed?": https://sites.google.com/site/300orgsite/are-we-doomed ) . Compulsory voting underpins our collectively responsibility.

Peace is the only way but Silence kills and Silence is complicity.

Posted Wednesday, January 23, 2013 - 19:23

<i>"....Compulsory voting underpins our collectively responsibility...." </i>

Polya, not if voting 1- is limited to candidates from only 2 political parties and 2- those representatives whom you vote for are unable to act in your interests where they come into conflict with other interests, such as those of their political party.

Voting in Australia does not result in a democracy and the voter cannot, therefore, be held accountable for teh actions of "their" governments.