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Impressive logic

June 23rd, 2012

Watching the 7:30 Report the other night, I saw Bronwyn Bishop (once touted as a possible PM) oppose legislation requiring automatic enrolment of 18-year olds to vote (already in place for state elections in NSW and Victoria). Her argument “it is a binding requirement, under the Electoral Act, for people to enrol themselves”. Umm, yes, and tomorrow, when the new legislation is passed, no such binding requirement will exist.

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  1. Catching up
    June 23rd, 2012 at 21:28 | #1

    Best news I have heard. Too many not on the roles. One and half million I believe.

    Many are under 30 odd.

    This, added to the many in western Sydney that entered deliberate informal votes in undermining the integrity of the system.

    I have big problems with optional preferential voting. I believe many in Queensland just voted for one person, literally making the election first past the post.

    All this suits the right of the political fence.

  2. Catching up
    June 23rd, 2012 at 21:35 | #2

    Sorry, I mean rolls. Do not know why I keep typing that.

  3. Alan
    June 23rd, 2012 at 22:47 | #3

    An election does not become first past the post because preferences are optional. Compulsory preferential systems are effectively unknown outside Australia and really only serve to bolster the Laboral duopoly. In an optional preferential election a candidate still needs to make the quota and it’s in the hands of the elector to decide how many preferences they exercise.

  4. rog
    June 24th, 2012 at 05:51 | #4

    The other Bishop is equalyy capable of b.s. In a debate on the proposed MRRT the WA royalty was put forward as a countervailing argument. B2 jumped straight in justifying the increase by arguing that Barnett was putting the money to good use building bridges schools etc.

    The chasm beckoned.

  5. rog
    June 24th, 2012 at 06:22 | #5

    Writing for the drum B1 informs us that man made climate change is jut a theory and reminds us that Copernicus upset the well established theory that the Earth was the centre of the universe. B1 seems to suggest that Copernicus was a skeptic and that climate science is a religion.

    Copernicus was not well received and his ideas were still being hotly contested many many decades later with followers, like Galileo, being convicted of heresy by the Church. It was Galileo who established the scientific method.

    B1 inadvertedly raises the point that science has a long history of being refuted with unscientific argument by religion and the establishment.

    http://www.thepunch.com.au/articles/whatever-happened-to-theories-and-theorems/

  6. Bring back Birdy at Catallaxy
    June 24th, 2012 at 09:14 | #6

    It’s apposite to recall Paul Keating’s comparision of Bronwyn Biship with that famous firework, the catherine wheel which would “go off and they’d take off, spreadeagle the kids, burn the dog, run up a tree and then fizzle out going around in circles”.

  7. Neil
    June 24th, 2012 at 13:08 | #7

    Bishop’s argument is identical to that used by the Archbishop of York (and many others) against gay marriage. Marriage has traditionally been heterosexual, the argument goes – in other words, it would be wrong to change that fact because that would involve changing that fact.

  8. paul walter
    June 24th, 2012 at 13:40 | #8

    It’s a mild version of the sort of wild west antics the conservative in America get up to in various and sundry parts. Since everything else of idiocy is legislated in from there, how long before we have hanging chad elections in this country, also.

  9. Freelander
    June 24th, 2012 at 13:58 | #9

    Bronwyn Bishop descended from the Senate to take a seat in the lower house and make a try for the leadership only to find that she had far less support than the current Rudd.

    Stories of her leadership chances must have been a journalistic beat up. Similar to the laugh recently had at poor Kevin’s expense.

    And how we all laughed at that one!

    Australia should get rid of this compulsory voting nonsense, which has only really been popular in faux democracies anyway.

  10. Freelander
    June 24th, 2012 at 18:52 | #10

    This traditional marriage stuff is complete bunk.

    Historical there have Bern all sorts of bizarre marriages. As well as homosexual, marriages to animals, gods.natural forces, trees. Difficult to understand what exactly the alleged threat is.

    I have never heard properly articulated exactly inwhat way so called traditional marriage is under threat.

  11. wilful
    June 26th, 2012 at 11:52 | #11

    Compulsory voting is an interesting topic. One where i think it’s reasonable to differ, with the best of intentions.

    Bernard Keane, whose writing and analysis in Crikey I mostly admire, really gets my goat on this issue. He writes as if it is not possible to morally support compulsory voting and it is a great evil. Still, in a way it’s good because it reminds me that he is fallible and is just another commentator. Not that I was about to fall into completely uncritical acceptance of what he writes, but he generally makes more sense than most Canberra journos.

    Anyway, I think compulsory voting is a good thing practically, and entirely defensible on utilitarian philosophical grounds. You have to be a pretty severe rightsist, a bit of a libertarian to think that democratic rights must include the right to not participate.

  12. Alan
    June 26th, 2012 at 12:45 | #12

    Compulsory voting is actually a bit more common than the media would have you believe. I am not sure what the category of ‘faux democracies’ is, but the list includes places like Brazil and Argentina. The really interesting case is the Netherlands which abolished compulsory voting in 1970 with an estimated 3% benefit for the parties of the right.

    The most extreme case of voluntary voting is the US where the Republicans constantly invent barriers to voting with no rationale evidence. The Liberals in Australia have taken steps in the same direction based not he same voting fraud fantasy as in the US. Although the AEC denied the possibility the Howard government went ahead with photo ID rules anyway. And of course one reason for the insanity of US election campaigns is that they are about dissuading or preventing your opposition’s people from voting.

    Abolish compulsory voting and you reduce the numbers of poor and marginalised people who vote and you give parties an incentive for demonisation above all. If you want to rely on an abstract argument from rights, logic dictates that you also need to support voluntary jury duty, taxation and a number of other things.

    I would have thought the progressives should always support maximising the vote.

  13. John Quiggin
    June 26th, 2012 at 13:52 | #13

    Important to note that voting is not compulsory – you are free to cast a blank ballot. I think we should clarify this, and let anyone who wants to abstain openly make a declaration to that effect at the polling station. That would make the voluntary nature of voting clear, while having almost no actual effect.

  14. Freelander
    June 26th, 2012 at 14:18 | #14

    Im not a severe rightist or libertarian, but compulsory voting is simply outrageous!

  15. Alan
    June 26th, 2012 at 15:16 | #15

    I think it’s worth including a None of These option on the ballot paper.

  16. June 26th, 2012 at 15:50 | #16

    I think the liberals opposing the current legislation and Howard’s early closure of the electoral roll is evidence enough of why compulsory voting is a good thing.

    Political parties will always try to shift the goalposts for voting to make it easier for likely supporters and harder for likely opponents. Look at the regular shenanigans in the U.S. – if everyone has to vote (and people have an expectation they have to) anyway it limits the damage that can be done.

  17. Freelander
    June 26th, 2012 at 16:58 | #17

    In countries in which voting is not compulsory the low numbers of voter turn out is evidence of a lack of choice and lack of democracy.

    The US is just not a democracy. People, some of them, get to vote, but they don’t get worthwhile choices. Sort of like in Eygpt.

  18. Alan
    June 26th, 2012 at 17:10 | #18

    And one reason for the narrowness of the political spectrum in the US is the use of electoral strategies designed to deter people from voting. Even there compulsory voting would make dramatic differences to the content of campaigns and the breadth of choice. Obviously other reforms like proportional representation are needed to ensure an effective democracy.

  19. Freelander
    June 26th, 2012 at 17:25 | #19

    Yes. Quite right. That is why totalitarian countries have always been so keen on compulsory voting. They have rightly seen it as a catalyst for change!

  20. Alan
    June 26th, 2012 at 17:32 | #20

    I am not aware of a compulsory voting exception to Godwin’s law.

  21. Freelander
    June 26th, 2012 at 17:47 | #21

    Godwin’s law? What are you on about?

    Anyway, the appeal to Godwin’s law, like calling someone a troll is simply a device used when an argument, fact, or otherwise sensible response alludes one. I see the tank is now registering empty.

  22. Alan
    June 26th, 2012 at 18:35 | #22

    No. If the mere fact that the totalitarians do a thing renders it evil then it is necessary to abandon almost all known political institutions. Totalitarians do elections, does this mean we should abolish them? Totalitarians do courts. Totalitarians, for that matter, sometimes do voluntary voting. Are we to abolish compulsory voting because some totalitarians do it or maintain it because some totalitarians don’t?

  23. Freelander
    June 26th, 2012 at 18:44 | #23

    It isn’t the mere fact that they do a thing. It is the reason that they do the thing. Because if voting was not compulsory how much of a democracy they have might just become obvious.

    Also, that compulsory voting is more common in totalitarian undemocratic countries does not support your suggestion that compulsory voting is a democracy enhancing move.

    Yeah. Sure. The evidence supports that. Not.

  24. Alan
    June 26th, 2012 at 19:30 | #24

    If you want to escape Godwin’s law, which is only a special example of the fallacy of irrelevance, you need to show that the motives of totalitarians in structuring cosmetic elections are in some way relevant to the motives for keeping compulsory voting in actual elections.

  25. Freelander
    June 26th, 2012 at 20:49 | #25

    I’m sure you don’t know what l would “have to do”. Irrelevance is not a fallacy anyway, and is often in the eye of the beholder.

    I always enjoy the impressive logic displayed on this site.

  26. John Quiggin
    June 26th, 2012 at 20:53 | #26

    As I mentioned, it’s not compulsory to cast a valid vote, so I’m not sure why the outrage.

  27. Freelander
    June 26th, 2012 at 20:54 | #27

    I suppose you have to show that compulsory voting is a democracy enhancing move, however unintentional, in totalitarian countries.

  28. Freelander
    June 26th, 2012 at 20:56 | #28

    The compulsion to enrol and attend the voting Booth.

    Simply outrageous!!!

  29. Uncle Milton
    July 1st, 2012 at 22:44 | #29

    @John Quiggin

    You don’t even have to cast to a blank ballot. As soon as your name is crossed off the electoral role, you can walk out the door.

  30. Freelander
    July 2nd, 2012 at 12:11 | #30

    Moderation? Can’t protest by not voting! Can’t protest about that either!

  31. Freelander
    July 2nd, 2012 at 20:41 | #31

    Why should you have to go through the meaningless ritual of enrolling and entering the ballot box simply to satisfy some totalitarian tending nanny state nitwits? Spoilt votes are not recognised as positive choices not to vote and hence direct attacks on a government’s ‘democratic’ credentials. Not voting is the most basic human right.
    Simply tyranny! Simply outrageous!

  32. Freelander
    July 2nd, 2012 at 20:42 | #32

    Very strange?

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