As we know, Australia is in the insalubrious club of tin pot dictatorships and banana republics that enforce voting by law.
So, turn out must be close to 100% then, with any missing votes due to forgetfulness or illness?
So despite there being an enrolment rate (ie “we know who you are and where you live for the purposes of issuing the fine”) of over 98%, only 91% of voters turned up?
Ok, but that 91% took the important task of maintaining confidence in the democratic process seriously, though, surely?
But up to 1.5 million people on the roll failed to vote at the election. In some seats, once informal votes are taken into account, less than three-quarters of those entitled to vote cast a legitimate ballot
Ah. So, faced with a choice of a $20 fine or turning up and drawing a penis on the form, a quarter of the population chose the genital option.
One Liberal MP said the voting figures suggested ramifications for the political system and major parties.
“Everyone campaigns on the assumption that people vote. This might mean they will have to campaign on the assumption they have to get people to vote,” they said.
You mean politicians will have to go out and campaign for people’s votes and engage them on matters of policy, as if they were taking voters’ views in to account?
A major difference one notices when experiencing an Australian Federal election compared to general elections in other western democracies is how little you see of politicians in the wild.
Sure, they are all over the media, dropping well-crafted soundbites in time for the evening’s TV news but you can do the weekend shopping at the local mall safe in the knowledge it will be a politician-free zone.
As for politicians walking the streets, knocking on doors asking for your support? Forget it.
I have long assumed this lack of visibility of prospective MPs is a direct consequence of compulsory voting. Politicians assume everyone is going to vote, and most likely vote en masse for their traditional demographic’s party. If that assumption is correct, then their resources are best directed at potential swing seats only.
Perhaps this taking for granted of the electorate is now becoming a poor strategy when a quarter of the electorate are going to the local school, signing on the register and then flipping the bird at the whole charade?
More of this, please.