Feb 16, 2012

The new electoral law that will deliver tens of millions to parties

A new bill will see tens of millions of dollars channelled to political parties in the name of democracy.

Bernard Keane — Politics editor

Bernard Keane

Politics editor

The major political parties stand to reap up over $20 million dollars from taxpayers over coming elections via draconian new “automatic enrolment” laws that would enable the Electoral Commission to automatically enrol people without their consent using information obtained from any source.

Special Minister of State Gary Gray yesterday introduced the Electoral and Referendum Amendment (Protecting Elector Participation) Bill, designed to address the growing disparity between electoral enrolment and population growth. It is estimated that up to 1.6 million Australians are not currently enrolled.

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46 thoughts on “The new electoral law that will deliver tens of millions to parties

  1. susan winstanley

    What a load of juvenile libertarian codswallop Bernard

  2. joshd

    Here’s a proposition, guaranteed to spark a bit of banter over dinner.

    Voting is a right, and a responsibility, so it can’t be assumed automatically.

    It also has a use-by date – 50 years of voting is say enough for anyone, surely. THe nation’s polity has been cast in your image, or not, and it’s time for the next generation to have a stronger proportional say in their own future.

    So, the proposition is – we all get to vote for 50 years. BUT we get to choose when that 50 years starts, and registering is a positive choice to start the 50 year clock.

    Give disinterested youth a real choice.

    There are many hidden and not-so-hidden aspects to this, and it’s not as crazy as it seems!

    Have fun bringing it up at dinner, especially with the parents!

  3. David Lilley

    As voting is compulsory in this country, and I’m ok with that, and somepeople can’t be bothered to fulfill their lawful obligations, I have no problem in these people being ‘roped in’ to the electoral system. Political parties scoring a financial boon as a consequence, I am less fond about. Let’s hope they all vote informal.

  4. Arty

    David Lilley: Maybe we need to make voting a desirable activity. Maybe have lucky door prizes at every polling booth.

    JoshD: How about we deny the right to vote until age 30?

  5. Barry Brannan

    Yeah it’s all about the money. Because the principles couldn’t possibly be valid, that must be it, right?

    Let’s make democracy easier for people. No more filling out more pointless forms that need to be posted using old-fashioned snail mail.

  6. Jim Reiher

    I quite like the idea of being the only democracy in the world that has compulsory voting. I think it is really quite a sensible balance between rights and responsibilities.

    The sad thing is that in a country that has compulsory voting, we don’t have compulsory understanding of how the system works. It is not a core required subject for all 17 year olds….

    We seem very keen to actually keep as much of the population ignorant of how the system works, as possible. Perhaps people are easier to manipulate if they are reasonably ignorant.

  7. Clytie

    If you don’t vote, your voice is not heard. Even an increase in the informal vote would be louder than sulking (or not knowing how to get on the damn register in the first place).

  8. Mark Heydon

    This’d be the comments troll you tweeted about this morning, eh, Bernard?

  9. Peter Evans

    Jim Reiher – there are 10 countries with compulsory voting. Argentina, Australia, Brazil, DRC, Ecuador, Luxembourg, Nauru, Peru, Singapore and Uruguay. Bit of a South American flavour!

    Anyway, there’s pros and cons. Leaving aside the well known pros, one con that annoys me is that there’s a certain appeal to base motives in so-called “outer suburban” seats. I don’t think the ludicrous (and downright racist) and hysterical blether about “boat people” would be so bad if not for the effort to sway the votes of, I dunno – 20%, people who have to turn up but decide on the day.

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