Let’s hold our leaders to a higher standard

by on 13 October, 2012

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.

Hope-and-fearWhy don’t we have all our politicians take a simple test: A
leadership test? 

If the leaders cannot motivate people to support them, they don’t
get elected.

If they can’t lead, they don’t get to lead.

It takes a real leader to inspire action and motivate support. This
is the leadership test that applies in most democracies around the world.

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.

A positive spin-off from testing our leaders in such a way is that electors like to be inspired. They respond well to good
leadership and more people tend to participate when their decision to vote or
attend the polling booth is purely democratic. Or based on hope rather than the
fear of a penalty.

In New Zealand, for example, they have relatively high voter
turnouts but over there, people only vote because they want to vote. Here, our voter
turnouts include a high proportion of invalid votes, donkey votes, and blind
guesses; so while our actual voter turnouts are 81%, the real participation rate
could be as low as 60%. Who knows?

We shouldn’t assume that just because people show up and vote,
they are engaged or informed. The only true test of this is if people vote because
they want to vote.

If fact, there are many nations with voluntary voting that have
higher voter turnouts than we do, even at our inflated 81%. Countries such as
Sweden, Denmark, and Iceland all have higher voter turnouts than we do. This is
partly because their leaders can inspire people to vote using peaceful means.

Threats of violence don't inspire people and they can actually repel people from the electoral process, which skews the election
results due to the sampling error or selection bias it creates. This is far from
democratic. In a democracy, everyone should have the same free equal choice to
vote without any coercion from the government.

Arguably high voter turnouts are a result of good leadership. But
how do we define good leadership in Australia? Is it based on our leaders
ability to educate, inform, and inspire people with good ideas; or is it based
on their ability to use force to press us into submission? Sure leaders need power, but not until we give it to them.

When voting is voluntary the would-be leaders who are not able to
educate, inform, inspire, motivate or empower the electorate are replaced by
leaders who can. True democratic leaders.

So while our political duopoly enacts ridiculous legislation after
ridiculous legislation and limits our freedoms in so many other ways, ask
yourself, would this happen if we lived in a true democracy?

If you think we have the government we deserve, maybe it’s already
too late. But this writer thinks we’re not as stupid as our leaders would have
us all believe.

Unfortunately if the government’s oppressive tactics continue, we
soon will be.

Jason Kent

Free Our Right To Vote

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