At the very least, a list of all the candidates for that specific election with a website full of thier information beneath thier name in the letterbox or displayed in public areas where people could easily see it. Ohh, and it would help a lot of every politician elected didnt break all thier promises as soon as they were elected. I am really liking the booklet idea though. Lots of people cant afford the internet which makes information gathering that much harder. And I never actually said I didnt care. I just find it hard to find info and Im not passionate enough to scour the internet for hours when I have no idea what I am looking for beyond labor, liberal and the greens.
The local elections in my area do a fantastic run down of each candidate in the paper coupled with a website for each and I get involved in those. The federal one is the one I have trouble with.
It was years ago that I read this, and may have changed since then. Also I am unaware of how (if at all) it was enforced.
I am really of the opinion that my vote really doesn't make much difference because whoever gets it will make bad decisions so what difference does it make ... but I would much rather vote for policies than people.
They could really take advantage of the Internet to allow people to vote at any time for important issues rather than just once every three years.
I would love the option, for example, for various groups to propose alternative budgets and then the public to choose which one to enact. There would of course have to be a reasonable lead-up time to educate the public about what each meant - probably up to three months, but at least six weeks.
With something complicated like the budget, you couldn't really vote on the individual issues - because it has to be give and take - so it would have to be a combined proposal.
But as mentioned above, administrative decisions such as the right to same-sex marriage would be able to be a standalone policy.
I don't get people who are so opposed to voting - it's once every 3 years for federal and once every 3 years for state (local still isn't compulsory in our area). So basically you have to attend a polling booth 2 times in 3 years. That's a ratio of about once every 550 (approximate) days. Doesn't sound like a big ask.
You can now be added to the postal votes - so papers are posted to you. So it shouldn't matter if you aren't sure of your rosters, or where you'll be on election day - if they're mailed to you - they're already there. All you need to do is fill them in and drop them in a letter box.
I think an advantage of compulsory voting is that people that otherwise wouldn't get to vote (think, people in remote communities, prisons, hospitals and more) wouldn't have the chance to have their say (not sure about the prisons one - as there's probably some controversy over whether they should have their say (FTR - you vote if your sentence is less than 3 years)), but with the current system, polling booths are taken to these places to allow the people in these situations to vote.
I've worked at elections over the past 20 years, and sure there's informal votes, but there's now an option to just show up and tick a box to say you turned up - you don't even have to accept a ballot paper.
There are people who can help you fill out a ballot paper - they won't tell you where to put your numbers, but tell you whether to number all boxes or whatever.
I also make it my business to read paraphernalia which arrives in my letterbox. I did get sad when I read some statuses on my fb on election day where something like "why should I vote for people I don't know anything about". I sort of thought it was the individual's responsibility to make sure they know about who it is they are voting for. There's certainly enough press around my area to know about what's on offer - you do have to be literate though - and that's the only thing which I think may exclude you from knowing enough about the candidates in your area.
With regards to the idea of voting for policies - I find this interesting.
For example, when the carbon tax was introduced, there were petitions, marches and more so that people tried to make their voices heard. I have no idea of how many people would've voted against the introduction of the carbon tax if they had been able to, but while we're currently given the illusion that we can vote for policies, our voices aren't heard. (By the way, the carbon tax was one example - there are plenty more such as allowing people of the same sex to marry - again - this was introduced to parliament for discussion and votes within the parliament - there were people voicing their opinions everywhere - but it all rested on the people actually in the chamber).
The best we can do at the moment is to vote for the member in your area who you think best listens to the constituents in the area and when there's a policy being brought up that you want your voice heard on, you take your thoughts to the member of your area. Your member can then take any public comment into the chambers of parliament for discussion.
Maori have equal voting rights, but have the option of being on a different electoral roll if they want, the different electoral roll covers the Maori electorates. NZ is divided up into General Electorates, then 7 (?) Maori Electorates to ensure Maori representation, which is funny, as there are way more Maori in parliament than there is per head of population.
I'm not a huge fan of that system, but I understand why it's there. I'd prefer to have a Maori senate, hah, but that'll never happen.
I should explain that the policies I vote for individually are state policies, not federal. But with something like gay marriage, it's been left up to the states to decide, but the marriages aren't recognized federally (ie through your federal taxes). BUT as more and more states make it legal, the federal govt sees this is an issue people care about and are now making moves to overturn DOMA (the defense of marriage act which states marriage is between a man and woman). I'm fairly confident this will be overturned before Obama leaves office in Jan. 2017. Alternatively we have policies that are federal but states can tweak them based on their voters. An example is abortion which is legal nationwide but states (based on their voters) have decided how much they regulate it (ie how many weeks you can be, etc). Alternatively again, something on the state level can be taken to the Supreme Court and decided by the federal govt. if its unconstitutional (this is happening with California's stance on gay marriage and happens when some abortion bills are too extreme). I know Australia is slightly similar (ie something like abortion varies state by state). But I just feel like a lot of politicians here don't seem to listen to their constituents (the gay marriage example). It'd be great if your govt would leave a lot up to the states and you vote individually in policies. But maybe since Australia's population is quite small you could get away with voting nationally. I think the states is too big for that (300 million people and ideals and values vary vastly depending on where you live).
Last edited by Kirst33; 10-04-2013 at 09:36.
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