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Jason Kent
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Australia produced the world's first feature film with The Story of the Kelly Gang in 1906, but today the film industry is struggling. Since the 1980s Australian films' total share of the local box office has fallen steadily from over 23% to below 4%. During this time the Australian Government's involvement in filmmaking has increased. Continue reading
Posted Aug 31, 2014 at Menzies House
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Is it any wonder why politicians elected under an undemocratic system would defend that system? Well, that’s exactly what they are doing. While we can’t stop people making uninformed choices at the polling booth, donkey voting is very much a symptom of compulsory voting. Some people select candidates at random, take a stab in the dark, confuse party names, or treat the election as if it were a Melbourne Cup horse race and pick the party, or should I say donkey, with the best sounding name, irrespective of form. Of course it’s easy to blame the individuals who do this,... Continue reading
Posted Sep 10, 2013 at Menzies House
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Surely this is the most despicable type of government propaganda message...
Toggle Commented Jul 26, 2013 on Government propaganda? at Menzies House
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Free Our Right To Vote Continue reading
Posted Jul 26, 2013 at Menzies House
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Around 1.4 million Australian eligible voters are not registered to vote. This is why the government recently made voter enrolment automatic. The Australian Electoral Commission is now contacting unregistered voters to pressurize them into joining the electoral roll. The AEC is ‘getting out the vote’ in traditional Labor and Green demographics, at universities, unionized workplaces, minorities, and indigenous communities. And before the election they will campaign widely to make sure everybody knows the penalties for non-compliance. Rudd began his election campaign stating he would seek to motivate young people to vote. Well, the Australian Electoral Commission is doing his job... Continue reading
Posted Jul 13, 2013 at Menzies House
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The Australian government’s support of Hollywood blockbusters is defeating the purpose of building a sustainable local film industry says Jason Kent, in a piece that first appeared in Encore. Continue reading
Posted Jun 3, 2013 at Menzies House
Unfortunately for the Liberals, the first line of defense against compulsory voting is to not comply. People can secretly (or openly) break the law and take the view that when injustice becomes law, resistance becomes duty. And many do. Continue reading
Posted Mar 11, 2013 at Menzies House
People seem to be scratching their heads and wondering why the standard of our political debate has reached an embarrassing low and our politicians are unpopular and uninspiring. Liberal blames Labor and Labor blames Liberal but our political discourse is only as good as the average of its parts. It takes two to tango. Maybe the politicians blame their audience. Maybe they think the Australian people are too stupid to understand complex political debate or ideological principals. Well, they’re partly right because compulsory voting means it’s only the disinterested swinging voters who decide our election outcomes. But that’s not the... Continue reading
Posted Feb 16, 2013 at Menzies House
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Any totalitarian regime can force their people to attend a polling booth, call it voting, then lie about electoral participation. Only true democratic leaders can inspire free people to support them voluntarily, with good ideas and honest ideology. If voting were voluntary, today, what would our voter turnouts be? 50%, 60%? We don't even know and nobody seems to care. All the politicians care about is the appearance of electoral participation. Take away their threats and fines and let's see if they really know how to inspire people or lead or generate support. All Australian eligible voters should have the same free and equal right to vote, free from government coercion.
I agree Selim - voluntary voting would be much better... but our voter turnouts are not 93%. They're only about 81%. See the AEC website... "In other words, more than three million Australians did not exercise their franchise at the 2010 election in the formation of our Government, or roughly one in five of those entitled to do so." http://www.aec.gov.au/about_aec/Publications/speeches/new-debate.htm And this site has voter turnout figures for Australia and other countries: http://www.idea.int/vt/countryview.cfm?id=15 NB: Look at VAP (Voting Age Population) turnout figures because Australia has a high number of unregistered voters (around 10%)... The AEC excludes unregistered voters and includes invalid votes to make our voter turnouts appear higher than they really are. Our turnouts are lower than many countries with voluntary voting. More here: http://www.facebook.com/groups/125050437535199/
Who needs good leadership when the people don’t have a choice, when our political parties don’t need to motivate support from the people? All they need to do is be slightly less repulsive than the other guys and compulsory voting does the rest. Continue reading
Posted Jan 3, 2013 at Menzies House
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Who said I was opposed to automatic enrolment? I'm not. I'm all for it. I think it should be as easy as possible for people to vote. Online would be great. Chile had the same problem we do with falling voter turnouts, people avoiding registering to vote to avoid fines. Their solution was to make enrolment automatic and voting voluntary. We should do the same. Only nine other nations enforce compulsory voting and none are great bastions of democratic freedom - far from it.
Australia: 81%, lower than Sweden, Denmark, Iceland. "In other words, more than three million Australians did not exercise their franchise at the 2010 election in the formation of our Government, or roughly one in five of those entitled to do so." AEC Website... http://www.aec.gov.au/about_aec/Publications/speeches/new-debate.htm Our government has been lying to us for many years, saying we have voter turnouts as high as 96%. They've never been so high and they're lucky to break 80%. And even at 81%, that includes people voting just to avoid fines. In most countries where voting is voluntary, 100% of eligible voters are free to vote, and 100% of people who do vote, only do so because they are informed and engaged. Not like Aussies filing into the polling booth to avoid a fine.
Sweden, Denmark, Iceland.
At the next federal election 1.5 million new voters will be forced to attend the polls. This could make a big difference to the election outcome. Not only will we have another 1.5 million disinterested or disengaged voters throwing their hat into the ring but far worse than this, not all of the 1.5 million new voters will actually vote. There are people out there who know in their hearts that their decision to vote should be their own. They know that their decision to vote should be free from any government coercion, in spite of what our government tells... Continue reading
Posted Jan 2, 2013 at Menzies House
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Derek you assume more campaign money will magically appear. I think the costs of campaigning could actually fall with voluntary voting, for the reasons I outlined above. Sweden, Denmark, Iceland and many others have higher voter turnouts than we do with voluntary voting. And in those countries 100% of the people are free to vote and those who do choose to vote, do so for the right reasons. They are engaged and informed, they're not just mindlessly avoiding fines. Are the costs of election campaigns higher there? I doubt it. Of course there are countries with voluntary voting with lower turnouts, after all, there are only 10 countries in the world with compulsory voting. 'no strings attached' donations relies on honourable politicians. Politicians with principles like Ron Paul. But just because they rely on donations it does not necessarily mean they will be corrupt. There are some things that the might and force of government just can't solve. We can't expect government to force everyone to be good. It doesn't work like that. If we're worried about them being corrupt we need to limit the powers of government not increase them as you suggest. What certainly does corrupt our politicians is the centralising affect of compulsory voting, because they hide behind the facade of centrality to win votes. Better if they need to motivate their base and show us what they truly stand for. If they need to motivate people to vote, it holds the politicians to a higher standard. They need to LEAD. It's better if they educate, inform, inspire, motivate and empower us using peaceful means rather than fines enforceable with violence. Fining and penalising people for not voting is just fascist. That's why it's so rare. Our decision to vote should be completely democratic, free from any government coercion. We should all have the same free and equal right to vote.
Toggle Commented Dec 24, 2012 on Labor can win at Menzies House
Sometimes the "everyone is doing it" is a good argument, after all, that's the basis for democracy. But you're right, often people do get it wrong on mass. But still, not only is compulsory voting massively unpopular, but the trend is away from it. Many nations have abolished it in recent decades because it can drive down voter participation. People become apathetic and disengaged. That's why voter turnouts in Australia are lower than many countries with voluntary voting. What if I have a lot of money and want to run for election? Are you saying that I should not be allowed to spend money on advertising? How am I ever supposed to get membership if I can't promote myself... word of mouth? Your system would protect the existing parties and make it a lot easier for the major parties to maintain their duopoly.
Toggle Commented Dec 22, 2012 on Labor can win at Menzies House
Derek when you say 'that path' remember that 'that path' is shared by Sweden, Denmark, Germany, France, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand and most other democracies. Only ten nations enforce compulsory voting. Actually it could cost a lot less to motivate support under voluntary voting because the party's messages will have better cut through because the parties will be better differentiated and their targets easier to define and reach. The costs of political campaigns could fall under voluntary voting. But even still, you can't blame all of America's problems on freedom or capitalism. Money can buy power but the alternative is not democracy, it's communism or fascism. That's not a path we should go down.
Toggle Commented Dec 22, 2012 on Labor can win at Menzies House
Six months is a long time in Australian politics, especially when the people who decide our elections are non-interested swinging voters who have little or no idea of what is really going on. Continue reading
Posted Dec 21, 2012 at Menzies House
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Correction line 1, not Democratic, "Democrats"
Toggle Commented Nov 10, 2012 on Say something—you’ll win votes! at Menzies House
Democratic have been desperate for national healthcare for years. Around the world people love national healthcare - the U.S. is still way out to the right on this (and rightly so) but it's a tough argument. Even Romney introduced a version of it in his state. Other Democratic leaders tried to introduce national healthcare and failed - it became the holy grail of the democratic politics. Also, people still blame Bush for the recession and rightly so, unemployment has started to creep down and of course we can't forget Obama is the first black President. I can see plenty of logical reasons why Democrats would not desert Obama in this election and as likeable as Romney is (I preferred him and his policies) no-one can deny he's a flip-flopper. The republican primaries made that pretty clear. No doubt Sandy helped Obama too but comparing what's happening there to what's happening here is a bit of a stretch. Our Labour party won a second term as did Obama, but Gillard and her gang of corrupt clowns would never have survived in the U.S. No way. Not a chance in hell.
Toggle Commented Nov 10, 2012 on Say something—you’ll win votes! at Menzies House
You won't hear such important political discussion in Australia. The politicians can't afford to appear too political, partisan, or speak over the heads of the swinging voters. You only win elections in Australia if you appear to stand for nothing. You have to merge into the centre nestled between fascism and communism on Australia's totalitarian political spectrum... don't talk about freedom because you'll sound like an extremist, or even worse, an American!!
Toggle Commented Oct 25, 2012 on Ryan on poverty in the US at Menzies House
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In most democracies leaders who are not able to inspire support simply don’t get votes. In Australia we force everyone to attend the polling booth, so our leaders only need to be slightly less repulsive than their opponent. They don’t need to inspire or motivate anyone. Continue reading
Posted Oct 12, 2012 at Menzies House
Some people ignore or even crave an all-powerful government. They don’t seem to realize that the more centralized the power structure is, the less accountable the government is to the people. Continue reading
Posted Aug 31, 2012 at Menzies House
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