Jump to content

WDYT should voting be compulsory?


  • Please log in to reply
55 replies to this topic

#1 Drowningnotwaving

Posted 03 January 2013 - 06:15 PM

http://www.smh.com.au/opinion/political-ne...0103-2c6hr.html

So this is just a idea flying around qld state elections but do you think voting should be compulsory?

Should a democracy give you a choice to vote or not?

#2 EsmeLennox

Posted 03 January 2013 - 06:24 PM

I think it's important that everyone votes, otherwise you end up with a situation who only a small number of people are choosing government and it is not repsentative of the entire population. Unfortunately, you have to make it compulsory to achieve that situation.



#3 Lucrezia Borgia

Posted 03 January 2013 - 06:26 PM

I think you get a more democratic outcome if voting is compulsory, even though the concept of "compulsory voting" seems, on its face, undemocratic ...

Oh ETA, it's not really the voting that's compulsory, it's the turning up to vote...ie getting your name marked off...if you are truly disgusted with politics you can cast an informal vote and no one will be any the wiser...as its anonymous .....but I think turning up to vote is the least a civilised society can ask of its citizens .....

Edited by Lucretia Borgia, 03 January 2013 - 06:31 PM.


#4 CupOfCoffee

Posted 03 January 2013 - 06:30 PM

QUOTE (Jemstar @ 03/01/2013, 06:24 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I think it's important that everyone votes, otherwise you end up with a situation who only a small number of people are choosing government and it is not repsentative of the entire population. Unfortunately, you have to make it compulsory to achieve that situation.


I agree with this.

To maintain democracy, we all have a responsibility (and I think think should continue to be mandated) to vote.  

(I am going to be cynical, I am assuming the LNP believe it will be in their best interest to remove compulsory voting (not necessarily democracy's best interest).

#5 Drowningnotwaving

Posted 03 January 2013 - 06:33 PM

QUOTE (CupOfCoffee @ 03/01/2013, 07:30 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
(I am going to be cynical, I am assuming the LNP believe it will be in their best interest to remove compulsory voting (not necessarily democracy's best interest).


Yeah I saw this in the comments section mentioned a few times, that basically the ALP benefits for comp voting. Not sure if that's true.

To be honest I'm not sure what I think about this.

#6 No-pants Agnodice

Posted 03 January 2013 - 06:34 PM

I guess it comes down to whether you want an 'opt-in' system or an 'opt-out' system.

We currently have an opt-out system. You can choose to not participate in the voting process by casting a vote that you know will not be counted, so it's not like anyone is being forced to cast a legitimate vote against their will.

The problem I see with an opt in system is that it further disenfranchises people who might already find it hard to engage with the political process - the poor, the single parents who have to drag young kids to the booths on voting day, shift workers (who are often also poor), young people, the elderly, people of NESB etc because when you have a zillion other immediate problems (how will I put food on the table, how will I pay rent etc) the political process suddenly seems distant and unimportant. Which is how you end up with the wealthy dominating the process of representation, like you see in the US.

One of the great failings of democracy, in my opinion, is that while it represents the interests of the majority really well, it marginalizes the minority. Even if the majority are making decisions on behalf of the minority that the minority disagree with (eg think of the abortion debate in the US). I don't think a voting process that makes it even harder for the underrepresented minority to cast their vote is a good way forward.


#7 CupOfCoffee

Posted 03 January 2013 - 06:36 PM

QUOTE (Drowningnotwaving @ 03/01/2013, 06:33 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Yeah I saw this in the comments section mentioned a few times, that basically the ALP benefits for comp voting. Not sure if that's true.

To be honest I'm not sure what I think about this.


I am not sure who would benefit really, from memory it was a seed planted by Alfred Deakin and in Queensland was introduced I thought by the Liberal party at the time. But that was based on different voter demographics.

Now lets hope they don't mention a gerrymander.

#8 Drowningnotwaving

Posted 03 January 2013 - 06:42 PM

This comment stood out for me and I have no idea if this is true or not but :

QUOTE
......The original motive of compulsory suffrage was to prevent electoral fraud. Tactics such as voter intimidation, ballot stuffing, and box dropping (trying to get the electoral booth as close to your supporters as possible) only work if voters can be prevented or dissuaded from voting. If its compulsory, then electoral fraud is made much more difficult......


I can see the logic behind this argument but not sure if this reasoning still applies today in this country.

#9 AntiBourgeoisie

Posted 03 January 2013 - 06:44 PM

QUOTE (Lucretia Borgia @ 03/01/2013, 07:26 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I think you get a more democratic outcome if voting is compulsory, even though the concept of "compulsory voting" seems, on its face, undemocratic ...


Democracy is a government of the people, formed by consensus of the people. I don't think there's anything to suggest that compulsory voting is undemocratic, in fact I think it's the only way to form a completely democratic government. Democracy is not about people having a right to choose to participate in the political process, it's about actually participating in the political process.
I don't think Australia has the population to support optional voting. In the US, just over 1/3 of the population voted in the recent election - and that was an election that people generally cared about. If something similar happened here, that would make it, what, just over 7 million people in Australia deciding our government?

#10 MrsLexiK

Posted 03 January 2013 - 06:44 PM

I don't think it should be compulsory. I am married to a person who only a started doing a real vote last election. He along with plenty of others going around only mark there name off.

#11 Alacritous~Andy

Posted 03 January 2013 - 06:46 PM

QUOTE (AvadaKedavra @ 03/01/2013, 06:34 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I guess it comes down to whether you want an 'opt-in' system or an 'opt-out' system.

We currently have an opt-out system. You can choose to not participate in the voting process by casting a vote that you know will not be counted, so it's not like anyone is being forced to cast a legitimate vote against their will.

The problem I see with an opt in system is that it further disenfranchises people who might already find it hard to engage with the political process - the poor, the single parents who have to drag young kids to the booths on voting day, shift workers (who are often also poor), young people, the elderly, people of NESB etc because when you have a zillion other immediate problems (how will I put food on the table, how will I pay rent etc) the political process suddenly seems distant and unimportant. Which is how you end up with the wealthy dominating the process of representation, like you see in the US.

One of the great failings of democracy, in my opinion, is that while it represents the interests of the majority really well, it marginalizes the minority. Even if the majority are making decisions on behalf of the minority that the minority disagree with (eg think of the abortion debate in the US). I don't think a voting process that makes it even harder for the underrepresented minority to cast their vote is a good way forward.


New EB crush. wub.gif

Will you marry me?  


#12 Lucrezia Borgia

Posted 03 January 2013 - 06:51 PM

QUOTE (AntiBourgeoisie @ 03/01/2013, 07:44 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Democracy is a government of the people, formed by consensus of the people. I don't think there's anything to suggest that compulsory voting is undemocratic, in fact I think it's the only way to form a completely democratic government. Democracy is not about people having a right to choose to participate in the political process, it's about actually participating in the political process.
I don't think Australia has the population to support optional voting. In the US, just over 1/3 of the population voted in the recent election - and that was an election that people generally cared about. If something similar happened here, that would make it, what, just over 7 million people in Australia deciding our government?

Sorry, must have been a badly worded post....I support compulsory voting...I think it gives a more democratic outcome, even if, on the face of it, some might perceive the notion of compulsory voting to be "undemocratic" .in the more colloquial sense of the word...."it's a free country, why should I have to vote" that type of thing.....but yes, with freedom comes responsibility, and I believe we all have the responsibility to participate in the political process, even if it is just turning up to get your name marked off (but I would hope people took it more seriously than that)

#13 TenYears

Posted 03 January 2013 - 06:52 PM

QUOTE
I don't think it should be compulsory. I am married to a person who only a started doing a real vote last election. He along with plenty of others going around only mark there name off.


Just turning up is fine (in terms of a discussion about whether you should have to turn up or not).  As long as nobody knows who is voting and who is just getting their name marked off, politicians have to campaign to everybody.  As soon as non compulsory voting gives a picture of the demographics of voting, they can start just campaigning to those who vote and as covered by above posters, that can lead to marginalised demographics becoming even more marginalised.

I am vehemently pro compulsory voting.

Edited by Eight.years, 03 January 2013 - 06:54 PM.


#14 SeaPrincess

Posted 03 January 2013 - 06:55 PM

QUOTE (Lucretia Borgia @ 03/01/2013, 04:26 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I think you get a more democratic outcome if voting is compulsory, even though the concept of "compulsory voting" seems, on its face, undemocratic ...

This. If it was only the people who cared enough to vote, it wouldn't be representative of the whole population, as seen in the US, where only a fraction of the population actually votes.

I can't actually see how it would benefit either of the two major parties to make it non-compulsory, only the smaller parties that have a single or very few main issues as their basis.

#15 Drowningnotwaving

Posted 03 January 2013 - 07:00 PM

QUOTE (SeaPrincess @ 03/01/2013, 07:55 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
This. If it was only the people who cared enough to vote, it wouldn't be representative of the whole population, as seen in the US, where only a fraction of the population actually votes.


But isn't the flip side of that is people who don't care turn up to vote to avoid a fine, and their vote isn't one based on issues rather obligation?

#16 MrsLexiK

Posted 03 January 2013 - 07:02 PM

QUOTE (Eight.years @ 03/01/2013, 07:52 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Just turning up is fine (in terms of a discussion about whether you should have to turn up or not).  As long as nobody knows who is voting and who is just getting their name marked off, politicians have to campaign to everybody.  As soon as non compulsory voting gives a picture of the demographics of voting, they can start just campaigning to those who vote and as covered by above posters, that can lead to marginalised demographics becoming even more marginalised.

I am vehemently pro compulsory voting.


I do see both sides and it is only since being with my DH that I have changed my views, as in having discussions with him about it has opened my eyes to a different thought. Previous I used to be all for the system we had, I have also spoken to Americans who just did not want to vote because in their eyes there was no one to vote for, they couldn't believe we had to be registered to vote and actually turn up to at least mark our name off.
I also think the parties have a fair idea of the type of people that just mark their names off and for who votes for who. Standing in line to get your name marked off isn't really opting out IMO, because if you don't at least opt into that part of it you will be fined.

#17 TenYears

Posted 03 January 2013 - 07:02 PM

QUOTE
But isn't the flip side of that is people who don't care turn up to vote to avoid a fine, and their vote isn't one based on issues rather obligation?


They don't have to vote at all.  They just have to turn up.  It is knowing that everybody goes to the polls that makes politicians have to campaign to everybody.

#18 RedBob

Posted 03 January 2013 - 07:03 PM

Having lived in a country, Ireland, with optional voting, I am even more firmly wedded to compulsory voting. What I saw time and time again was that the electorates with the highest turnout were always the rich ones, and the poorer electorates, which would be hardest hit by changes, were so alienated that they CBF voting. And so you end up with a government voted in by the wealthier end of society, who are therefore going to be more in tune with what benefits them, rather than what benefits everyone.

Plus, even if you wanted to vote, you often couldn't. There was no such thing as absentee voting, and since the ballot was always held on a Thursday, many students couldn't get home from uni to vote, especially if they came from the country. You didn't have a choice of voting places, you went to the one you were allocated, to make it more difficult still.

And finally, we all live in this society. We all have to obey laws and pay tax as part of that. voting for me is simply one more responsibility of being part of society.

#19 Feral_Pooks

Posted 03 January 2013 - 07:08 PM

For sure compulsory voting is better, it's a no brainer.

Now, how to make it so people like old Newman don't get into office, ah, now there is a ponderance worth pondering...

#20 fancie

Posted 03 January 2013 - 07:08 PM



I don't have a problem with compulsory voting at all.   I think it is a wonderful opportunity in that having to vote (or at least turn up to the electoral booth) encourages people to think about their vote even if it is only in a small way.

It is my belief that even those who turn up but choose to render their vote invalid whether by incorrectly filling out the form or leaving it blank are in fact voting too - they are just voting for none of the people standing for election.  

Compulsory voting should never be repealed in my opinion.

#21 Drowningnotwaving

Posted 03 January 2013 - 07:10 PM

QUOTE (Eight.years @ 03/01/2013, 08:02 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
They don't have to vote at all.  They just have to turn up.  It is knowing that everybody goes to the polls that makes politicians have to campaign to everybody.


Doesn't this make a moot point? Why should someone who has no interest in voting have to turn up (normally at personal expense) to get their name crossed off?

#22 MintyBiscuit

Posted 03 January 2013 - 07:12 PM

Until we bring in a system where you have to pass an IQ test to vote, my preferred option is compulsory voting wink.gif

Seriously though, I think compulsory voting does result in a fairer system overall, even if it doesn't seem that way at times. As has been mentioned, non compulsory voting often leads to those most in need of a voice not getting a chance to have one, and those with all the power and influence simply being able to exert more of it. Our political process in this country is already too caught up in rich lobbyists, and I think optional voting would only make it worse.

There is also the money that would be wasted. Sure, it costs a lot to hold an election and campaign, but can you imagine how much more time, money and effort would be spent if step one was actually getting people to go out and vote? Just look at the US where there is a huge amount spent on simply getting people registered and voting. There is so little time spent on policy in our campaigns as it is - if politicians had to spend more of that time convincing people to vote, policy discussion would suffer.

#23 Drowningnotwaving

Posted 03 January 2013 - 07:24 PM

QUOTE (HollyOllyOxenfree @ 03/01/2013, 08:12 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Just look at the US where there is a huge amount spent on simply getting people registered and voting. There is so little time spent on policy in our campaigns as it is - if politicians had to spend more of that time convincing people to vote, policy discussion would suffer.


The US system is so bloody creepy to me. I can't really describe how weirded out I am by the hysterical drone-like crowds clapping and cheering they do in those big halls. It's terrifying to me.  TBH those few people that hang out at the winner/loser rooms for the announcements at our elections make me feel a bit sad for them.

#24 AntiBourgeoisie

Posted 03 January 2013 - 07:26 PM

QUOTE (Drowningnotwaving @ 03/01/2013, 08:10 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Doesn't this make a moot point? Why should someone who has no interest in voting have to turn up (normally at personal expense) to get their name crossed off?



It's because the people who 'donkey vote' usually don't do it because they disbelieve in voting, they do it because they are making a point that there is no one they wish to vote for. (Of course that's a generalisation).
Take asylum seekers as an issue, for example. The two major parties have pretty much the same policies on this. So, if you don't believe in mandatory detention, who do you vote for? (The Greens). But if you don't like the Greens because (for example) you think their economic policies are not adequate - then there's no one to vote for, because there is no party that offers both a good economic track record and a more humane policy on asylum seekers. (FWIW I personally have no issues with the Greens and economics). So you cast an informal vote, to lodge your complaint that you don't feel there is anyone worth taking office.
I personally think that there is a problem with democracy at all in this regard. Democracy might be better than tyranny, but if there is no one who is offering policies that you like, then the whole democratic process is worthless to you, because it is essentially a tyranny with a small amount of choice, rather than a tyranny with no choice.
This is, I think, why compulsory voting is important. In a close election, parties need to differentiate themselves and can actually 'earn' votes from people who would otherwise cast informal votes. They can also attract the attention of those who, through apathy or lack of knowledge or interest in the candidates, might donkey vote.

Edited by AntiBourgeoisie, 04 January 2013 - 11:44 AM.


#25 Drowningnotwaving

Posted 03 January 2013 - 07:31 PM

I would think that people who donkey vote do so because they don't care or don't know either way what does it matter if they don't turn up? The issue is no one has to vote, they can turn up and get their name crossed off and walk away or not turn up and get a fine. Not sure I'm happy with anyone getting a fine for not voting.




1 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 1 guests, 0 anonymous users

 

How a baby can survive alone for days on end

The baby found abandoned in a Sydney drain may have been alone for up to six days without being fed, leaving many asking how he could have survived.

When it begins to look a lot like Christmas

A child's excitement at Christmas time is a beautiful thing, but one dad ponders whether his toddler daughter is getting into the festive mood a bit too soon.

Hospital lets dads the experience some of the pain of childbirth

A new experience is radically altering men's views of childbirth.

Italian doctors questioned over formula bribes

Italian police have placed 12 doctors under house arrest on suspicion of promoting baby milk formula over breastfeeding.

Heartwarming prank gives single mum the house she was hired to clean

Cara Simmons arrived at work to clean a large and beautiful house in time for a party planned for that evening. It was soon hers.

Those special moments of sibling bonding

Every now and then your child does or says something that is truly memorable.

Why we should stop telling new parents to 'enjoy every moment'

A few weeks ago, some dear friends of mine had their first baby. As the proud dad texted me a picture I had to fight the natural instinct to say “Enjoy every moment!”

Baby monitor footage posted online

Footage of Australian babies and children sleeping in their bedrooms are among the images on a Russian site showing live feeds from thousands of homes and businesses around the world.

Did this new dad really hit on his wife's midwife?

Was there really a man who was actually there by his wife’s side as she laboured and gave birth to his child, all while he was making what he perceived to be meaningful eye contact with a midwife?

Keep calm and ignore the Tantrum Trolls

Tantrum Trolls are a small but growing species of predatory bottom-feeders who delight in picking on parents at their most vulnerable.

It's okay to never 'get over' the death of a loved one

The death of children, siblings, and parents has long term impacts on the rest of our lives.

What Mark Latham needs to know about depression and motherhood

In a bizarre bid for relevancy, Former Opposition leader Mark Latham has deduced that because one female journalist had this week light-heartedly thanked antidepressants and caffeine for getting her through a medical degree while raising two small children, that ergo, all 'inner-city feminists' are selfish harridans who despise their offspring.

'We're just trying to keep our child alive': life with FPIES

We have a beautiful seven-month-old son, and his allergy rules our life.

Transgender dad breastfeeds his babies

A transgender man who breastfed his first baby - despite having his breasts removed as part of his transformation from female to male - has now had a second child.

Couple face $1 million medical bill and bankruptcy after babymoon birth

A Canadian couple were slammed with a million dollar medical bill after their daughter was prematurely during their babymoon.

Win one of 5 Little Tikes Cozy Coupe Sport

Australia?s No 1 selling car is now available in a Sports model and we have 5 to give away to some lucky Essential Baby families.

Cigarettes, junk food dominate supermarket sales growth

One in every five dollars spent at supermarkets goes on cigarettes or junk food, according to industry data.

Teacher under fire for breastfeeding in class

There is no doubt mums have a right to continue breastfeeding after they have returned to work, but one teacher in the US has taken it to the extreme.

Video: Baby sniffs beardless dad to make sure it's him

She looks him up and down and then touches his chin, but baby Lindsey still isn't sure this clean-shaven man is her dad.

The tragedy of losing a favourite teddy bear

We were green and uninitiated, perhaps a little naïve when it came to the favourite toy responsibility.

It's possible to workout while pregnant

Medical experts say intense fitness routines can be done safely during pregnancy - if the mums-to-be follow some guidelines.

Baby for Asher Keddie and Vincent Fantauzzo

Fans followed every step of her on-screen pregnancy in Offspring, now Asher Keddie is going to be a mum in real life too.

What parents really want for their kids

Are our hopes, dreams and expectations for our children what they really need?

'I had a feeling something was seriously wrong': the fight for Kaden's diagnosis

Before even giving birth, Katie Myers' maternal instincts warned her something was wrong with her baby.

Win a family pass to Disney Live!

We have 4 family passes to give away to see Disney Live! presents Three Classic Fairy Tales, touring Australia this December/January.

Download now: Essential Kids Activity Finder app

Got bored kids? Quickly find the best activities for kids wherever you are in Australia with the Essential Kids app.

 
Advertisement
 
Advertisement
 
 
 

What's hot on EB

Win one of 5 Little Tikes Cozy Coupe Sport

Australia?s No 1 selling car is now available in a Sports model and we have 5 to give away to some lucky Essential Baby families.

Join PADDINGTON on the red carpet!

To celebrate the release of PADDINGTON, we are giving five lucky winners the chance to win a family pass to the exclusive Australian Premiere in Sydney on December 7!

When your pregnancy causes a relationship rift

Some dads-to-be don't miss a beat when their partner is pregnant; others struggle with a range of issues and can become withdrawn, right when their support is needed most.

Couple uses group photo trick to announce pregnancy to loved ones

Katharine and Kris Camilli devised a clever trick to immortalise their family and friends' reactions to their exciting pregnancy news.

Why Tracey Spicer has given up make-up

"After 30 years on television, I had become what I despised: a painted doll who spent an hour a day and close to $200 a week putting on a mask."

Knowing you are one of the lucky ones

I am secure, confident and strong, but the responsibility of protecting my children can almost bring me undone.

Why I am so emotional now I have kids?

There are so many ways in which parenthood changes us as women, but one of the most noticeable, for me, has been the changing state of my emotions.

Baby survives despite sharing womb with 'foreign body'

Baby Maia was conceived against the odds, only to find she was sharing a womb with an ominous "foreign body".

Video: Baby shows dog how to jump - or vice versa

They say dog is man's best friend, but this playful pooch seems to have chosen a jumping baby as her number one buddy.

10 ways to soothe a crying baby

New paernts can get frustrated when their newborn gets fussy and can't settle down. When you're feeling overwhelmed, try some of these simple tips to help soothe your baby.

20 baby names that are becoming more popular every year

The data-lovers at nameberry.com have been at it again – this time, they’ve discovered the names that are continually rising up the ranks, ready to take out some top spots in the next few years.

10 great meals to make for new parents

Ideally, you want to give food that isn’t expensive to make, isn't too difficult to create, and freezes well; stews, bakes, soups and pasta sauces are perfect.

'It's not you, it's me': Boston bombing survivor mum to have leg amputated

Rebekah DiMartino is going through a break-up. She even wrote a farewell love letter. But it's not to her husband.

What it's like to go through early menopause

In a cruel twist, Carla had been breastfeeding and perimenopausal at the same time. But she's far from the only one to go through menopause early.

Weird pregnancy products

Some pregnancy products come to market and are just awesome. Others just leave you scratching your head.

Restaurant served alcohol to two-year-old

Busy restaurants can be forgiven for getting food and drink orders mixed up from time to time, but not when the confusion leads to a two-year-old being served an alcoholic cocktail instead of the child-friendly beverage they ordered.

Julia Morris tells of miscarriage on a flight

Julia Morris has spoken about the devastation of suffering a miscarriage while on an international flight.

Woman's survival after birth 'a story of two miracles'

A US mother is home and tending to her new baby less than a month after surviving without a pulse for 45 minutes.

Best maternity swimwear and beach cover-ups

Thinking about a tropical babymoon but have nothing to wear? Here are some great swimwear and beach cover-up options for mums-to-be.

Duchess's letter to grieving mum

The Duchess of Cambridge has written to a grieving mum on a "very difficult" day.

 

How many weeks til Christmas?

On your To-Do list

Get the "Santa" shopping done without the kids in tow.

 
Advertisement
 
 
Essential Baby and Essential Kids is the place to find parenting information and parenting support relating to conception, pregnancy, birth, babies, toddlers, kids, maternity, family budgeting, family travel, nutrition and wellbeing, family entertainment, kids entertainment, tips for the family home, child-friendly recipes and parenting. Try our pregnancy due date calculator to determine your due date, or our ovulation calculator to predict ovulation and your fertile period. Our pregnancy week by week guide shows your baby's stages of development. Access our very active mum's discussion groups in the Essential Baby forums or the Essential Kids forums to talk to mums about conception, pregnancy, birth, babies, toddlers, kids and parenting lifestyle. Essential Baby also offers a baby names database of more than 22,000 baby names, popular baby names, boys' names, girls' names and baby names advice in our baby names forum. Essential Kids features a range of free printable worksheets for kids from preschool years through to primary school years. For the latest baby clothes, maternity clothes, maternity accessories, toddler products, kids toys and kids clothing, breastfeeding and other parenting resources, check out Essential Baby and Essential Kids.