People seem to be scratching their heads and wondering why the standard of our political debate has reached an embarrassing low and our politicians are unpopular and uninspiring.
Liberal blames Labor and Labor blames Liberal but our political discourse is only as good as the average of its parts. It takes two to tango.
Maybe the politicians blame their audience. Maybe they think the Australian people are too stupid to understand complex political debate or ideological principals. Well, they’re partly right because compulsory voting means it’s only the disinterested swinging voters who decide our election outcomes. But that’s not the worst of it.
Under compulsory voting our politicians don’t need to inspire people to vote. They don’t need to motivate support from the people. They don’t need to lead, or at least not in the democratic way. Our leaders rely on force to compel people to attend the polling booth whether they support the candidates or not.
This oppressive system leaves us with a large part of the electorate who file into the polling booth like donkeys to avoid a fine.
In democracies around the world, voting is democratic. This means the leaders need to motivate support from the people using peaceful means. Democratic means.
In true democracies, the people hold the supreme power—which means that to earn support leaders must sell themselves and even sell the very notion of democracy, because if they don’t they won’t be elected. A more inspiring candidate could take their place.
It would be better if our leaders needed to inspire & empower people to vote rather than relying on threats and fines.
We’d get better leaders if our decision to vote were democratic.