Mandate rooted

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?

Hmm, not quite.

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?

How novel.

Bill’s Opinion

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.

10 Replies to “Mandate rooted”

  1. Campaigning on actual policies no longer works.
    Maybe because the majority of people do not want any change, with their debt up to their eyeballs and a fear of unintended consequences, or in their vernacular, “policies don’t work, or don’t happen”.
    Trump has the best campaign sales technique. He promises simple ideas without the policy detail.

  2. Someone, perhaps you Bill, once tried to explain the Australian voting system to me, and how to read a ballot. My tutor’s comment was that, like quantum physics, those who claim to understand it don’t.

    Here in the shiny Rainbow Nation (all colours) of South Africa, we have a simple system.

    1. Is my skin colour black?
    2. If yes, I vote for a black party. If no, I vote for any of the others, including the obviously white parties.

    Campaigning is slightly more complicated. We vote not for candidates but for parties. To get onto the ballot, a party has to choose you to be on their list and determine what number you are on that list. If a party wins 17 seats, the first 17 on the list get the job, the German car, two upmarket houses one in Cape Town one in Pretoria, the flashing blue light motorcades and the unlimited expense account with the one small disadvantage being the onerous annual shopping trip in Dubai.

    For some reason connected with “Historical Disadvantage” it is okay for a black candidate to say “Kill All Whites” but the reverse does not hold true.

    The system works well. Twenty-five years into universal democracy and there’s no whiff of the promised civil war, although white farmers are getting it in the neck at a murder rate approaching Detroit’s.

    1. “We wanted freedom but, instead, we got democracy”…

      I think that was what the blacks were saying last time I was there.

      1. “….it is actually quite simple”.

        Go on then, tell us which candidates your 1st, 2nd and 3rd choices preferenced.

        1. Thanks to secret ballot, my Fraser Anning vote shall remain unknown to all.
          Likewise for my 2nd preference for Pauline Hanson, & my third preference for Gladys Bjelke-Petersen.

          This has precisely sfa to do with the system being simple.
          It is not first past the post – a system even my dog can understand.
          Anyone who is unable to grasp the Ozzi system would be well advised to never become a plumber or electrician, as they’d find the classroom coursework component too challenging.

          1. “Anyone who is unable to grasp the Ozzi system would be well advised to never become a plumber or electrician, as they’d find the classroom coursework component too challenging.”

            Does that include people who deliberately choose not to understand it?

            Asking for a friend.

          2. I’m struggling with, & am impressed by, the mental agility required to deliberately choose to not understand it.
            This is sort of like choosing to not understand that dogs bark.

          3. Let’s just settle on the fact that I look at the three metre sheet with more names than the attendance at Waratahs and realise it’s a joke.

          4. Move to rural/remote Qld.
            You very quickly get used to state & federal electorates where only two candidates stand.
            The Qld senate paper is a more manageable size, & if we ever manage to get rid of the Gold Coast, we’ll probably find 70% of the oddball senate candidates disappear with it.

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