Friday, 8 July 2016

There is still no election result

and people are, rightly, beginning to wonder why it is taking so long. Yes, our electoral system needs to be reviewed.
It probably won't be. 
I'll make a submission to the Senate Standing Committee about my experiences. I'll make a suggestion for change. It will almost certainly be ignored but I know I need to do it. If I don't do it then nothing can change.
There are complaints that some polling booths ran out of ballot papers, that some had the wrong ballot papers. In most seats these things, while very serious, probably won't make any difference to the outcome. If the same complaints surface in seats where numbers are tight then what happens? 
There will be an investigation but the allegations would have to be very, very serious for people to be required to go back and vote again. 
I was at a meeting yesterday and someone asked me if I had, after the Brexit vote, changed my mind about  our system of compulsory attendance at the ballot box. The answer is "no". I still think that is wrong. 
I passionately believe people have a right to a vote. People have fought and died over that issue. At the same time if people don't want to be involved, feel they don't know enough to be involved, or are in anyway uncomfortable about being involved then they should not be compelled to attend the ballot box.  
Our  system of compulsory attendance at the ballot box simply makes for lazy politicians. They know they don't have to work to get people to vote - they only need to get a small number of "swinging voters" to vote for them. That requires a great deal less work.
During this last election campaign one candidate from a major party didn't put in an appearance in our immediate area. Nobody I spoke to - or  who spoke to me -  had seen him, let alone met him. He still collected a good proportion of the votes. I suspect they came from people who went in and voted for his party because that's the way they always vote regardless of the policies. 
Someone else told me he hadn't bothered to vote. There was nobody he wanted to vote for. I suppose he had at least thought about this.
But there were a slew of young people who admitted to me that they didn't know what they were doing. They had relied on advice from parents or from the political advertising. They had no idea what the party policies were. Some had voted for minority party candidates simply because they thought it would be "fun to stir things up a bit".
I am not sure that this version of "democracy" works.

1 comment:

Jodiebodie said...

I'm proud that the young people in my family take their responsibility seriously and thought carefully about their votes. My advice to them was to keep tabs on what goes on throughout the entire term of office because the minute an election is announced, the campaign starts and everything the pollies say them need to be taken with a grain of salt. The track record in between elections is where pollies show their true colours. I'm pleased that many young people are well informed and did their research.