What an absolute farce it is that voting is compulsory in federal and state elections.
As in, you will be forced to participate in our electionwhether you want to or not.
Very democratic, that.
You could argue it is actually compulsory attendance, rather than compulsory voting.
But you are still expected to attend, and in danger of a fine if you do not.
That is not the worst of it, though.
The worst bit of compulsory voting is it forces people who take no interest in politics or who do but are not enthused by any of the parties or candidates, to give up their time, attend and (theoretically) vote.
Will the real federal Treasurer (Scott Morrison) please stand up.
Giving rise to “I’ve heard of them” votes, ‘’eeny meeny miny moe” votes, donkey votes and so on.
All intellectually meaningless, but ensuringthe uninformed and disinterested influence who actually wins and loses.
New polling by Essential absolutely belled the cat on this phenomenon.
It asked respondents if they knew who the federal treasurer was, without looking it up.
More than one third (36 per cent) did not know it was Scott Morrison.
Thirteen per cent thought it was ex-treasurer Joe Hockey, 3 per cent thought it was Shadow Treasurer Chris Bowen and 20 per cent said they did not know.
With no disrespect to the 36 per cent, why should they be forced to the polling booth if they don’t take enough interest to know who holds the second most important role in the government?
Some of them might have perfectly good reasons for voting a particular way without knowing that:they might be very much focused on a single issue and knowledgeable enough on that to casta meaningful vote.
But that would only be a fraction of the 36 per cent.
There are arguments in favour of compulsory voting.
One is that it makes sure middle of the road folk participate, and lessens the chances of the extreme right wing,the extreme left wing or the just plain nutty wing winning government.
It could be argued Australian equivalents of Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders would not do as well as those two have in the US because of Australia’s sensible (voting) centre.
There is probably more at play in the USin terms of anger at the “establishment,” represented by Hillary Clinton and some of the failed Republican hopefuls, although similar sentiment is present here too.
While a Trump or Sanders presidencywould not be pretty, it would at least be the choiceof Americans who cared enough to vote voluntarily.
The other significant argument in favour of compulsory voting is it forces politicians to be mindful of the needs of the entire electorate (which would only be true sometimes, possibly).
But, again, it is undemocratic -anti-democratic even -and forces the participation of people who do not care.
We (those of us who care, anyway) want informed decision making from governments.
Why then would we not leave the voting to those who care enough to make a considered choice -the thinking swingers -plus the party loyalists?
While the loyalists often do not make considered decisions, at least they believe in something politically.
Let’s scrap compulsory voting and leave the rest in peace.
This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.