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0 thoughts on “As you watch the UK election results – is Australia the winner?

  1. Otepoti


    Well, I was going to say that I approve of compulsory voting, but not of STV, since that's the way everybody gets their second choice, but then I thought that I don't approve of those Christians who believe they are called completely to withdraw from the political process being fined for their convictions (however misguded), so I can't give even one thumb up to the Aussie system.

    Everyone knows that the NZ system of PR is the best. And we achieve a 76% turnout without any coercion whatever.

    Anyway, best wishes for your new government. Some tough choices ahead. Let's pray a coalition can deliver the right medicine.

    Hmm, hmm, hmm, la, la, waiting for Happy Friday...

  2. Josh

    It would be good to think through why politicians would be in favour of compulsary voting. If they don't aknowledge that their authority has been established by God, they will seek to establish it by some other means - and demos is the best fit post Rousseau, especially in a democracy.

    However, low voter turnout brings about questions of the legitimacy of the government, and those questions are dangerous because they question the agreed (anti-Christ) status-quo.

    Compulsary voting means that everyone has signed the social contract, and now government has a blank cheque to do what it wants regardless of whether Christ has ordained it.

    Of course there could be other reasons why government wants compulsary voting, but the above seems the most plausable to me.

  3. Otepoti

    I was going to point out everybody else's spelling mistakes - that would be one "compulsary" and one "practiced" just for you, Glen...

    but then I realized that would be very misguded of me.

  4. Si

    Compulsory voting sounds very statist. Don't they do that in dictatorships? That said, voter registration and who actually votes is one of the few areas where I feel that there should be more regulation - I could have taken someone elses' card from my house and voted under their name and, as long as it wasn't too female a name, no one would have batted an eyelid. Likewise we could have put a couple more names on the electoral roll, and got a couple of extra voting cards without much fear of prosecution.

    PR could make the political system worse - thinking party lists and very large areas (like with the EU elections) as a worst possible set up - no accountability and big separation between representative and the individual voters.

    Scotland's FPTP with party list top up gives a bit of a compromise, but has the party list problem.

    STV and small multi-member constituencies seems to me to be the least worst system when it comes to PR and being democratic (which after all is what is wanted, surely?) - pick a person, not just a party (power to voters, not whips and whips favourites) and get some proportionality in there. Also allows independents to stand as independents.

    While Democracy is very bad, I'd much rather have lots of fallen people having a say, than a few. The dispersion of power there would mean that the corruption that so often comes with it is also dispersed!

  5. Glen

    Otepoti and Heather - maybee youde like the speling poliec to run the internette, but its' my demmocratic wrighte to raize my typo fist and resiste.

    Probably compulsory voting needs to be twinned with a clear 'none of the above' option - that might solve the problems Josh and Si raise.

    And I'm certainly no fan of PR. It would leave little or no place for anti-statist voices. We'd just be choosing (and not very effectively choosing) between various shades of state-sponsored solutions to state-proposed problems.

    On the election special David Dimbleby quoted WH Auden as saying the best system is "Dictatorship tempered by assassination."

  6. Heather

    maybee youde like the speling poliec to run the internette, but its’ my demmocratic wrighte to raize my typo fist and resiste.


    On second thought, that plan would probably backfire on me.

    the best system is “Dictatorship tempered by assassination.”

    That's frightening! But isn't that what a society needs need when it throws God out? Heavy handed government, pressing a disorderly people into a mold of obedience from the outside...

    Although, human nature being what it is, the leadership also would be corrupt and wicked and abusive of the citizenry.

    I was wondering something concerning compulsory voting.

    My SIL was appalled at the low overall voter turnout for the last US election and suggested that if more conservative Christian sorts had gone to the polls, the "people's choice" would have looked much different. She may be right, as I think many conservatives didn't vote at all because of the unsatisfactory nature of the options and many of the liberal sorts I've seen interviewed were swayed by emotion or a sense of racial justice being served. They had no idea what the real issues are or what was being offered by the candidates.
    I was informed that Aussies take their voting duty quite seriously in comparison, and tend to carefully check candidates and weigh issues. Of course, she also has said that God hasn't yet been made unwelcome in the schools and that there is a strong sense of national/patriotic allegiance.

    I'm curious as to whether compulsory voting would actually be a good thing in a country that is (as a nation) already pretty far down the path of godless, self-absorbed apathy?

    "Everyone" would equally share in the responsibility for the quality of government leaders, but I don't think that would be enough to ensure people would actually vote responsibly. In a society that has largely jettisoned the concept of personal responsibility to God or anyone else, it seems that the result of instituting a compulsory vote would not be a happy thing.

    Maybe I've missed something?

  7. Si

    Glen "Probably compulsory voting needs to be twinned with a clear ‘none of the above’ option – that might solve the problems Josh and Si raise."

    It would help it go down, but forcing people to vote seems rather totalitarian in my book - if people want to disenfranchise themselves, they ought to have the freedom to do so without having to go to a ballot box and spoil their ballot paper, or be arrested.

    It also means that you get the 35% of people who couldn't be bothered (OK some were and got shut out) voting - we have enough people that just go with one party without looking at what they say, having more apathetic people voting isn't a good thing.

  8. Byron Smith

    I'm about two years late to this party, but just thought I'd say (a) thanks for the link and (b) compulsory voting in Australia is really compulsory turn-out on voting day. You are not legally required to submit a valid ballot, so it is entirely legal to turn up and be marked off and then not fill in your ballot paper, or write in whatever you want on it. It won't be counted, but you won't be fined. And if you have a conscientious objection to voting, you simply need to say so and there is no fine. That is, the compulsion isn't really very strong and the fine is very small ($20, I think). The main point of it is to say that it is a normal and expected part of citizenship that you consider your role in the representative political authority who exercise judgement on your behalf, which I think is entirely reasonable.

  9. Glen

    Thanks Byron. Having lived half my life in the UK, I've escaped having to vote in any Australian election bar the 1999 referendum. It's probably a good thing I'm not expected to cast my uninformed vote from 12 000 miles away.

  10. Byron Smith

    Ah yes, forgot to say that non-residence also removes compulsion from voting (and after a period of time, removes even eligibility to vote - can't remember exactly how long this is, but I suspect you're now past even the possibility of voting if you wanted to).

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