Is it any wonder why politicians elected under an undemocratic system would defend that system? Well, that’s exactly what they are doing.
While we can’t stop people making uninformed choices at the polling booth, donkey voting is very much a symptom of compulsory voting.
Some people select candidates at random, take a stab in the dark, confuse party names, or treat the election as if it were a Melbourne Cup horse race and pick the party, or should I say donkey, with the best sounding name, irrespective of form.
Around 1.4 million Australian eligible voters are not registered to vote. This is why the government recently made voter enrolment automatic. The Australian Electoral Commission is now contacting unregistered voters to pressurize them into joining the electoral roll.
The AEC is ‘getting out the vote’ in traditional Labor and Green demographics, at universities, unionized workplaces, minorities, and indigenous communities. And before the election they will campaign widely to make sure everybody knows the penalties for non-compliance.
Rudd began his election campaign stating he would seek to motivate young people to vote. Well, the Australian Electoral Commission is doing his job for him. Who needs democracy when you have force?
In Australia’s Orwellian Democracy, where freedom equals to conformity, parties can win elections in two ways: They can either offer good policies, effective implementation, and quality leadership, or they can just say they offer good policies, effective implementation, and quality leadership. They can just lie, or use Newspeak. Ruddspeak.
One of the biggest hurdles for Australian filmmakers is competing with the big budget American studio films. Indeed, this is one of the reasons the government gives for subsidizing Australian films. However, it seems to be at odds with the support given to American films like 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea.
Compulsory voting is more popular with the left wing. The Liberals have opposed automatic voter enrollment while the ALP pushed it through, and the LNP in Queensland have suggested voluntary voting while Gillard and Swan bitterly opposed it.
Liberals around the country have come out in favour of voluntary voting. Unlike Gillard and Swan, many Liberals feel that their decision to vote should be their own. Gillard and Swan know that compulsory voting favours their side of politics.
Unfortunately for the Liberals, the first line of defense against compulsory voting is to not comply. People can secretly (or openly) break the law and take the view that when injustice becomes law, resistance becomes duty. And many do.
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.
Recently I wrote an article about Australia’s slide towards totalitarianism and how compulsory voting centralizes the major political parties at the totalitarian end of the political spectrum. The recent debate over electoral reform is an example of this.
At the next federal election 1.5 million new voters will be forced to attend the polls. This could make a big difference to the election outcome.
Not only will we have another 1.5 million disinterested or disengaged voters throwing their hat into the ring but far worse than this, not all of the 1.5 million new voters will actually vote.
There are people out there who know in their hearts that their decision to vote should be their own. They know that their decision to vote should be free from any government coercion, in spite of what our government tells us.
So how do these people who believe in freedom react to being forced against their will to attend the polls? Some of them will ignore the laws and cop fines, while others grudgingly show up and make a donkey vote – a protest for freedom, but the trouble is it’s a protest that is all-but mute. These people’s voices will go unheard and make no difference to the election outcome.
Meanwhile, on the other side of the political divide, there is another group of people who will vote. They will cast a formal ballot. They won't object to being forced to the polls. They won’t react against the government’s nanny state rules. They won’t oppose the government’s heavy-handed coercion. They will trust their government knows best and vote accordingly. Can you guess whom these people are more likely to vote for?