Friday, May 06, 2005

Commonwealth democratic duty attempted

It's election day here in England, and having discovered that being a citizen of a Commonwealth country currently residing in the UK entitles me to have a vote, thanks to Caitlin's blog, I thought I would see if I could.

Alas, not being in the area of my "address", the polling booth here in Waterlooville wasn't about to let just any old Aussie vote, after all. Thought it was worth a try, seeing that most of the Brits I have talked to weren't going to bother. Non-compulsory voting over here surprised me - where did we get our system from?

When walking into the Polling Booth hoping to cast my vote, I was also hoping to be bombarded by manic pamplet welding people at the door, giving me information on policies and people to vote for. But none of that either. Seems the whole fanatical last minute attempts to win votes is a uniquely Australian thing too.

Anyhoo, my vote in the Australian election last year did nothing, and thus I will not have a say here in the UK either, this time.

I am back on a work assignment now, for 10 days. Different client, and different town. Getting used to different routines, places, and also a completely different scenario in that my client has his own family. I feel like I have walked into a weird share house situation, with extra duties!

4 comments:

  1. The AEC website discusses the compulsory voting issue but doesn't really say why. Just the usual arguements for and against.

    http://www.aec.gov.au/_content/what/voting/voting.htm

    Good on you for trying to vote though, Tash. I think that compulsory voting has taught us to care about the future of our country! If you're forced to take part you take an interest (or maybe we're just like that anyway).

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  2. The reason we have the manics with the leaflets is because we have voting with preferences and it is complusory. So we have how to vote cards in case we can't remember how...... It does suggest that the political parties consider us to be morons.

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  3. I think the Libs (or the conservative party that predates them) introduced it in the 1920s thinking it would benefit them. Of course, it didn't; it benefited Labor and hence the Libs have spent the last eighty-odd years arguing against it.

    Personally I agree with it but I think they should formalise the 'informal vote' and have a box that says 'none of the above'. No one is obliged to vote but you are obliged to show up on the day and have your name marked off. What you do then is your own choice.

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  4. Yeah, the Country party was taking votes from the Nationalist Party (who then became the UAP, then the Liberals).

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