Do You See What I See?

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

The Vote.

Much has been said recently about the call for electoral reforms, primarily about compulsory voting and when a person can be placed on the electoral roll.

I heard a commentator (did not catch his name) on the John Stanley show (I know!) this afternoon discussing this and unsurprisingly, the commentator agreed with the proposal to close the electoral roll immediately after an election is called, rather than allowing a seven day 'grace period.' The commentator argued this with the refutation that kids have no issue with getting their license at that age so why isn't it the same with enrolling to vote - that they "run out" to get their license but can't be bothered to fulfill the enrollment. This amused my parents and I greatly because as a nineteen year old, I don't have my Learners but I was on the electoral roll as soon as I turned seventeen because I believe in the democratic right to vote. From a young age, I was aware of the efforts of suffragettes like Vida Goldstein who fought for my right to vote. I am aware of the efforts around the world to allow all people the democratic right to vote and in turn, I value the right that I have and by voting, I believe I celebrate and made 'real' the efforts of all those women and minority groups.

Firstly, with this notion of being 'forced' to vote, you don't actually have to vote. You simply have to mark your name off the electoral roll and chuck your papers in the boxes and as Red Rag points out, it would remove the "colourful" votes for scrutineers and obviously, we can not limit creativity.

Secondly, the proposals by Eric Abetz just ring of ideological gain when a political party is trying to gain as much as it can with the level of power it presently has. Michael Danby highlights one of the key issues with these proposals:
For 150 years, he said, Australia had led the world in democratic practice, and the mooted changes would wind that back for "short-term partisan advantage".
Considering we were trailblazers granting women (well non-Aboriginal women) the right to vote among other democratic practices, we should be careful of the ramifications for our country. Looking at the US as the most 'famous', at least to me, nation with voluntary voting, I fear what would occur if we were to lose compulsory voting.

Other People With Their Views.