OK , so not wishing to start any political arguments ,and hoping this is not too contentious. Mods please delete if it’s in breach.
Based on a long running debate between my wife and I and, now involving my very savvy 14 year old I’m curious how many folks here are on the electoral roll.
As a kid I enrolled because my dad said I had too. From 18 to mid 20’s I never once voted seriously at an election. In the mid 90’s I received a letter via my Mum’s address to say I had been removed from the electoral roll at that address and had to re enroll in the seat i was then a resident of. I took this letter to an electoral office for clarification and they said I must re enroll or face penalties. I took the paper work on the premise I would fill it out and return it the next day… Yeah right!
As a petulant protest I think that it’s unconstitutional to be forced to enroll and then subsequently have to attend a polling booth to be marked off like a prole. The rule of compulsory enrollment was added in later as an afterthought.
If they ever catch up with me as one of the estimated 1.5 mil not enrolled then the penalty is waived if I enrol any way. Not being enrolled also means no chance of being called for jury duty either.
Not so sure about the unconstitutional argument. All the Constitution says is that members of Parliament should be directly chosen by the people. We do have an implied freedom of political communication in our Constitution, which amounts to a negative right to not have that freedom constrained or limited in a manner that can’t be demonstrably justified in a free and democratic society. But it doesn’t follow that we have a positive right to not vote.
I think there probably are benefits to society in having compulsory voting. It forces everyone to engage with our government, even if only at the most cursory level. And it forces the government to consider everyone when making policy decisions, not just those that care enough to vote. That may mean the policy can be poorly swayed to ignorance and popularism, and that may explain in some way why the political discourse in Australia is so fucking ugly, but the alternative could be worse.
Simplistically , as the compulsory voting rules were not part of the original constitution, but some thing that was enacted at a later date. Hence an enforced rule.
Fixed that for you. Populism is the very reason I don’t vote or endorse politicians. Whats the point of electing a party or member on a set of values and ideologies if they then change tack and follow a media driven campaign to save their seat and secure 3 terms for a cushy pension?
I understand and am totally willing to accept the government as elected by the enrolled majority and never complain about the incumbent party as I have chosen to forgo my democratic voice in the political landscape. Cynic I am. My wife claims that I am just being a petulant rebel with no real motivation other than being difficult. Despite the bad role model she claims I am to my kids, my eldest has stated that he will be enrolling at 16, and voting at 18 as the law allows.
The problem with non compulsory voting is that your not voting just makes the votes of extremist voters (who always vote by definition) doubly potent. Which goes a long way to explaining the state of the Republican Party in the US. With pretty much no middle-right voice, it’s become a hard right, evangelical party. And that’s not just because all the Christian Right and Tea Party kids vote, but because those from the mid political spectrum, the moderate republicans, aren’t voting, aren’t engaged at all, and thus, in their absence, are voting just as hard, in a sense.
So that’s one thing we avoid in Australia. Though of course there are other issues.
That doesn’t mean it is unconstitutional to have enforced voting. A lot of things aren’t specifically contemplated under the constitution, but are still validly enacted. The argument that it is unconstitutional has been tested a number of times, but has failed (doesn’t mean it wouldn’t get up with different reasoning, which is why I asked). Also the line that you are expressing your implied freedom of political communication by not voting has been dismissed on a number of occasions.
I am pretty sure there are even High Court judgments which go as far to say that you have to physically mark the ballot paper (although no idea how that could be determined).
Yeah I know, I’ve heard all those viewpoints before, which is pretty much why I’m willing to fess up that it’s just a petulant and pointless protest. Curious to see if I was the only childish one(wink).
i enrolled to vote upon turning 18.
donkey voted a few times.
the last 3 or so i’ve submitted a valid voting form.
i’d like voting to be mandatory, but then i’d also like the speed limit increased on the HWY & FWY by 20-30km/h…
I live in possibly the strongest liberal electorate in the country. We’re talking like 70-80% of the primary going to the libs. It’s hard not to feel that my vote is essentially worthless, no matter which way it’s cast.
The funny thing is that it’s really difficult to get any serious infrastructure investment in our area. The liberals don’t need to do anything cos they’re a shoo-in, and labor can promise whatever they want cos they know they won’t have to deliver. And then the dumb fucks who vote liberal complain that the roads are shit, and the public transport’s shit, and why don’t we have the NBN etc…
That said, we’re actually getting a dead-set actual train line in a couple of years, digging starting shortly. Still not sure how that actually got through, seeing as it’s actually sensible. Normally they just promise more roads, and we all know how that turns out.
That said, I always turn up, get my name marked off, and vote for whichever independent has the skeeziest pic on their how-to-vote card.
Perhaps not fashionable but I agree with compulsory voting too.
True story: many, many moons ago for about 2 weeks I was an Electoral Role Review Officer. Just happened that way as at the time at the CES (old form of centrelink) there were no jobs going for Supermodel’s, or DJ’s, or Omnipotent Despot’s. I was forced to undertake any available or suitable job they offered me and of those the title Electoral Role Review Officer sounded pot only pretty stupid & funny but the idea of door knocking for the Govt. grabbed my attn. especially as I at the time felt that doing such a job whilst pretty stoned seemed like a very normal approach.
It only lasted a few weeks but was one of the most bizarre and interesting things I have ever done. I was chased by dogs (of course), hit upon by housewives, offered bag loads of drugs, treated to many cups of tea and viewed lost of picture albums, and laughed my ass off most every day. I was in the farmland area’s outside of Camden & Penrith so quite rural, had a car allowance and was paid by house & by mileage covered. I had never done anything like this door to door knocking stuff and really can say it’s like some other world out there. Beautiful and bizarre. I also thought it was odd how I was given fat binders of very sensitive personal information for private individuals.
Best story was the farm that looked like a hippie commune: 20 cars, 3 or 4 buses, perhaps 30 kids playing and about 10 adults all smoking pot on the front verandah. I asked if anyone there was enrolled to vote - no - anyone eligible to vote - no - I gave up after a few questions and thought it cool and very Australia !! I wish I could have joined them but I had a job to do !!! Lolz