Australian Compulsory Voting

Australian Compulsory Voting – The common wealth electoral act 1918 under section 245(1), states that: “it shall be the duty of every elector  to vote in each election”, a joint  standing committee on electoral matters(JSCEM) is set to conduct an inquiry into the elections and considers public submissions. A report with recommendations for improvement to Australia’s  electoral system is published

  • In 1996 the (JSCEM) recommended that compulsory voting should be repealed, the democrat numbers failed to support the recommendation, and the government also rejected it saying that voluntary should not be considered.
  • Later in 1998 and 2001 JSCEM the submissions, on voluntary voting and declined to pursue the issue.
  • In 2004 the JSCEM recommended that a full separate inquiry be held into voluntary and compulsory voting,
Australian Compulsory Voting – Cast your Vote

Vote casting According to the electoral act, the duty of the elector is supposed go to the polling station, have their name marked off the certified list, receive their ballot paper and take it to an individual voting booth, mark it, fold the ballot paper and place it in the ballot box.

On a related matter, it is  an offense under the electoral act to remove a ballot paper from a polling place. In an election electors are given a number of ways to cast their vote which in this case is compulsory:

  • Postal voting
  • Pre poll voting
  • Absent voting
  • Voting at Australians oversee mission
  • Voting at mobile teams/hospitals/nursing homes/remote localities
  • Electorate polling place

Due secrecy of the ballot, it is not possible to determine whether a person has completed their ballot paper before putting it in the box.

Therefore it is not possible to know whether all electors have met their legislated duty to vote however it is possible to know that an elector has attended a polling place and has been issued with a ballot paper

Voting at federal elections was introduced for Australian aborigines in 1949 and went on until 1984  when enrollment became compulsory for all eligible voters.

Australian Compulsory Voting – Participation

Election participation compulsory voting in Australia is likely going to maintain high voter Turnout in elections.

Australia has an electoral list based on the 150 electorate in the house of representative,

  • Every citizen over the age of 18 are required to enroll
  • Seventeen years old, may provisional vote if their birthday day falls on or before polling day

The voter turnout at Australian election has never fallen below 90% since the introduction of compulsory voting in 1924

 

Non-Citizens The only non-Australians eligible to vote are: British subjects were on a common wealth electoral roll before January 26 1984.

Australian Compulsory Voting – The Fine

What happens if I fail to vote? After each election, the AEC will send a letter to all apparent nonvoters, requesting that they either provide a valid and sufficient reason for failing to vote or pay $20 penalty.

If within that period of time specified on the notice you fail to reply, and cannot provide a sufficient reason, or decline to pay the $20 penalty. Then the matter may be referred to a court, and if are found guilty, you may pay up to $170 plus court cost then a criminal conviction may be recorded against you.

For up to date information on Australian Politics click here

Source Australian Electoral Commission

Many people have strong opinion on compulsory voting, lets take a look at a few from Twitter.

Henrik questions the democracy, when someone is forced to undertake an act or face heavy fines.

Debs points out the possibility of using your vote, avoiding the fine, but choosing non of the above box. This should be discussed as then the true voice of the people could be heard.

https://twitter.com/1BRAZ1/status/714364471360098305

Peter points out the voting opportunity, to influence who is in power, with a bold statement.

However you decide to vote, make sure you are informed for up to date information on Australian Politics check in daily with Australia Unwrapped.com for unbiased, opinions on our political landscape.

Political Parties of Australia:

The Nationals – Political Party Australia

Liberal Party of Australia

Country Liberal Party

Australian Labor Party

Australian Greens

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