Let’s hold our leaders to a higher standard

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

Compulsory voting for “dummies”

The Daily Telegraph-Galaxy poll revealed 40 per cent of 814
NSW voters polled had no idea who Barry O'Farrell is, even though he has been
NSW Premier for 18 months.

At the recent local government elections, the message to
booth workers from voters was, “who are all these people [on the how to vote
card], I don’t know any of them.”

It seems that a large percentage of the electorate vote only to avoid the $55 fine.

If that is not a case against compulsory voting, I don’t
know what is.

Australia’s slide towards totalitarianism

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.

It is said that voluntary voting causes the major political parties to
become polarized, while compulsory voting leads to centralization. 

One of the benefits of so-called polarization is that when the parties
are polarized it presents a clear
choice for the electorate. This makes it easier for the people to tell the
difference between the parties and make an informed decision. Also, when the
parties are polarized, the end result of their policy debate is balance, since
the average of the two poles falls at the centre.

However, a problem that is said to arise from polarization is that it makes it more difficult for the parties to
reach compromise and legislate. Unless one of the major parties has a
significant majority, it is difficult for the parties to pass legislation.

People who see this as a problem argue that it should be easier for the
government to pass legislation and bring about change. They see the
confrontational nature of partisan politics with its inherent conflict and
debate as an obstacle or obstruction to progress. They prefer it when all
parties agree and the government is free to rule. Some call this type of
cooperation as the ‘third way’, which to this writer sounds more like the
‘third reich’.

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.

When people think of polarization they imagine the poles are communism
and fascism, but communism and fascism actually reside at one pole. The pole
where the people have no freedom and the government has ultimate power: totalitarianism.
The other pole is anarchy.

Compulsory voting sees a convergence of political thought but this
doesn’t occur at the centre, it occurs at one extreme. The convergence occurs
towards the totalitarian end of the spectrum, putting upwards pressure on the
size and power of government. Centralized political thought empowers government
and weakens the people.

In a centralized system where both major parties reside at a single
pole, dangerous ideologies thrive. They thrive under the mask of centrality or
neutrality. They thrive behind the veil of agreement or balance. They thrive
because the people are left in the dark, thinking that if both of the major
parties agree, then it must be right.
And besides, what choice do they have?

People have less choice when the parties are centralized because it is
harder for them to tell the difference. They must choose between the better of
two evils.

When the parties exist at different poles, the ruling class is divided.
They are in conflict and this conflict places more power in the hands of the
people.

The political parties should be in competition, not a duopoly. Not
centralized.

When the parties exist at a single pole, it steals our power away, whether
the centralization is a result of fascism, communism or a compulsory-voting-duopoly
such as ours.

Every day that goes by our government competes with the opposition to
legislate. It’s a race to see who can legislate the most. And if the Liberals
win it will be more of the same. Both parties crave power, even though they
have different methods of achieving it.

Under voluntary voting, leaders who cannot inform, inspire, motivate,
educate and ultimately empower the electorate using peaceful means, are
replaced by leaders who can – true democratic leaders.

Under voluntary voting leaders must empower the electorate, which means
they must promote freedom. They must sell freedom. They must defend and protect
freedom.

Voluntary voting will reverse our slide towards totalitarianism.

Jason Kent

Free Our Right To Vote

Australia says freedom is bad for democracy

Until the Australian government stops lying, Australia will continue to deceive the world into thinking that freedom is bad for democracy.

For many years the Australian Government has upheld the myth that Australia’s
voter turnouts are above 90%. As a result most people think our voter turnouts
are around 95%. This is the image the world sees and believes. 

Voter turnouts in Australia are not 95%. Not even close. Our voter
turnout is around 81%, and this figure includes a high proportion of invalid
votes, donkey votes and blind guesses, so our real voter turnouts are probably
a lot lower. They could be as low as 60%. Who knows?

Our government has fooled everybody into thinking we have one of
the world’s best democracies. But worse than this, they have fooled everybody
into thinking we have one of the world’s best democracies thanks to our lack of
freedom.

We are one of only ten nations in the world to enforce compulsory
voting and many of the other nations are not long out of military dictatorship.
These countries are also typified by tight media regulations. Compulsory voting
combined with a state-controlled media gives the government complete control
while still ‘appearing’ democratic.

Derryn Hinch is currently the latest to fight for democracy in
Australia. He says I believe
compulsory voting is bad on two grounds. I believe it is undemocratic even
unconstitutional.” Read more here.

Democracy is supposed to provide freedom. Compulsory voting does
the complete opposite. It strips people’s power away, right when they need it the
most. Rather than empowering people with the vote, compulsory voting diminishes
people’s power with threats of fines and ultimately threats of violence.

Compulsory voting repels people from the electoral process. This
is partly why we have such high levels of informal voting and why around 10% of
eligible Australian voters are not even registered to vote.

If compulsory voting were so great, why are Australian’s so
disengaged with politics? Why do they say we even need compulsory voting? After
100 years of forced freedom, compulsory voting has clearly failed.

Even at the inflated 81%, our voter turnouts are still lower than
many nations where voting is voluntary including Sweden, Denmark, Iceland and
Malta.

Under voluntary voting politicians who cannot educate, inspire and
ultimately empower the electorate using peaceful means, are replaced by leaders
who can – true democratic leaders.

Voting is not done as a duty to the state but as a voluntary act
of free will. At least, that’s the way it’s supposed to be. When we are free to
vote, we have 100% voter participation. Everyone has the same free equal right
to vote. Everyone is included.

Australians don’t like compulsory voting. Not really. Australians
like to see evidence of high voter participation and they think high voter
turnouts indicate this. The government has deceived the Australian people for
far too long.

Until the Australian government stops lying, Australia will
continue to deceive the world into thinking that freedom is bad for democracy.

Jason Kent

Free Our Right To Vote

Central planning is killing the Australian spirit

Unfortunately in Australia we live in a nation where freedom seems to be misunderstood and central planning is rife. So why do Australians seem to have forgotten the evils of central planning?

If history has taught us anything it’s that freedom is a good thing. Communism, socialism, and fascism all failed. They failed because people like freedom and societies work better when people are free.

Unfortunately in Australia we live in a nation where freedom seems to be misunderstood and central planning is rife. So why do Australians seem to have forgotten the evils of central planning?

Well, maybe we’ve been brainwashed. Maybe the government’s central planning has worked to control our actions and even our thoughts.

One example of Australia’s horrendous central planning is the government’s proposed National Cultural Policy. It’s central planning gone berserk. There’s no reason or justification for our culture to be centrally planned. A nation’s culture is a reflection of the people, all people, not only the elite ruling class.

Why should the government produce our films, handpick our artists, or dictate cultural doctrine taught in schools? Why is the Australian culture being dictated from above and why do people stand for it?

Of course one reason is clear: money – cash grants to the elite artists, filmmakers, educators and bureaucrats. Our government spends around two billion dollars annually on the arts, not including education spending. And two billion dollars buys a lot of votes. Why not just give tax breaks? Of course tax breaks would mean the government would lose control. Of our minds?

And what about the true artists, the independent artists who don’t fit within the government’s artistic or cultural blueprint? Of course, they’re left in the cold, with an almost impossible task of competing with the state.

Centrally planned cultural doctrine is suffocating the Australian spirit, killing individuality and crushing innovation. This is the price we pay for not defending our freedom and not even understanding it. This is the price of state oppression.

Freedom empowers the individual rather than the state. Freedom respects individual thought rather than groupthink. Freedom liberates our innate human desire to communicate and connect.

Australian politicians don’t talk much about freedom and it certainly doesn’t rate very highly in the government’s cultural doctrine. Even though freedom is supposed to be fundamental to our western way of life. Not here. Not in Australia.

In Julia Gillard and Tony Abbott’s maiden speeches to parliament they didn’t even mention the words “free” “liberty” or “democracy” once. Not once. Yet in Barack Obama’s maiden speech to the Australian parliament he used these three simple words a total of 29 times. Words have meaning and he used his to promote freedom. Maybe he thought we needed a lesson or maybe he had another reason.

One reason a polarized left wing politician from the U.S. needs to promote freedom is simple: democracy. In a democracy or a place where people are free to vote (or not vote) leaders must empower the electorate because if they don’t, people will simply switch off and not vote. The logic being – why vote if you’re not free? Or why vote if you don’t think you have any real power?

Barack Obama knows this, which is partly why he sells freedom. Can you imagine our red PM selling freedom? It would be very hard for her to sell the world’s biggest carbon tax, nationalized internet and draconian media controls, and freedom at the same time.

In a true democracy where voting is purely democratic, i.e. with no government coercion of voters whatsoever, leaders who can not motivate, inform, inspire, educate and ultimately empower the electorate are replaced by leaders who can: true democratic leaders.

In Australia this doesn’t occur. In Australia, leaders don’t need to motivate or inspire anyone. They don’t need to lead. They certainly don’t need to promote freedom. All they need to do is keep their heads down and be slightly better than the other guys. They need to win the votes of the swinging voters at the centre because the swing-votes are the only votes that matter. Under compulsory voting political parties don’t need to motivate the base.

This creates a very dangerous situation.

Communism or fascism evolve when political opinion is centralized or when a distinct majority of people unite under a single authoritarian rule. At least, that’s how it starts. We’ve seen where it ends. Remember what Martin Luther King Junior said, “Never forget that everything Hitler did in Germany was legal.”

A democratic system works when multiple political opinions represent different ideas or distinctly different opinions along a spectrum. In some ways the major political parties represent poles, which pull in opposite directions and result in balance.

Our system is not balanced. It teeters around a central point—vulnerable to slip in either direction. Our system is like two people trying to balance a plank of wood above their heads and both heading to the centre rather than standing at opposite ends.

And all the while the poor souls standing about trying to direct those two people, can’t even tell the difference. They can’t tell which side needs more support. They can’t tell if our system needs more or less government. And the result is always more government because the guys holding the plank have complete control. Government wins and the people lose.

Our system is centralized to the extent that partisan politics, strong political ideals or rigorous debate is shunned as being extremist or even dangerous.

Groupthink grips Australia. Groupthink that imagines government is the answer to all our problems. Groupthink that says central planning can save us and protect us from the slippery slope of partisan politics. The slippery slope of democracy!

If our parties must be united, if they must stand together as one to defend and promote anything, then let it be freedom.

Jason Kent

Free Our Right To Vote

 

Is the AEC working for the ALP?

How can we have over 10% of unregistered voters as well as 94% voter turnouts? The math just doesn’t add up. Maybe Australia isn’t quite as democratic as the AEC would like us to believe.

For years the Australian Electoral Commission has promoted Australia’s voter turnouts as being above 90%. As a result, most Australian’s think we have voter turnouts around 95%.

But the AEC now has a problem. Through their recent ‘enrol to vote’ campaign they have inadvertently revealed that over 10% of people are not even registered to vote.

How can this be? How can we have over 10% of unregistered voters as well as 94% voter turnouts? The math just doesn’t add up.

This is a problem for the AEC so they devised a cunning plan. Throughout their ‘enrol to vote’ campaign, they’ve avoided saying “ten percent”. Instead they speak in terms of whole numbers and the number of unregistered voters that would fill football stadiums in Victoria.

If they say unregistered voters are over 10% people will quickly add 10% to 94% and realize something’s off. They will realize that our voter turnouts are not 94%.

Actually, our voter turnouts are only 81%. Far less than 94% because over 10% aren’t registered to vote and around 7% of registered voters simply don’t vote.

The disturbing part about this tangled web is – why would the AEC want to distort the truth? Why hide our actual turnout figures? Why promote 94% instead of 81%?

No doubt the AEC wants to increase voter turnouts, so why hide the true percentages? And what else is the AEC hiding?

They might also like to hide the fact that many nations with voluntary voting have higher voter turnouts than we do, including Sweden, Denmark, Iceland and Malta.

They might also like to hide the fact that only 9 other nations in the world enforce compulsory voting.

They might also like to hide the fact that Chile’s recent solution to a growing number of unregistered voters was to abolish compulsory voting.

But why is the AEC so keen to defend compulsory voting, when the policy is now helping to drive voter turnouts down? Especially when their current campaign is designed to increase voter turnouts.

Could it be that compulsory voting favours a particular type of voter? Could their deception be politically motivated? Julia Gillard supports compulsory voting. Maybe the AEC does too.

That would make sense of why this writer recently received an ‘enrol to vote’ postcard in the mail along with a Tanya Plibersek brochure.

This type of political corruption cooperation has become all too common in Australia.

Maybe Australia isn’t quite as democratic as the AEC would like us to believe.

Jason Kent

Free Our Right To Vote

No judgment in Anders Holmdahl’s compulsory voting Supreme Court challenge

The thrust of Anders’ case, as described by Justice Gray, is “the right to vote is a constitutionally protected right that may be exercised or not exercised and that the obligation to vote arising from section 245(15) [of the Commonwealth Electoral Act] infringes that right.” On this point Justice Gray ruled to refer the matter to the Full Court.

The case will now pass to the Full Court in the June sittings, where 3 – 5 judges will hear arguments from Anders and the Australian Electoral Commission.

In the past, other challenges to compulsory voting have been thrown out of court, so the progress of this case represents a victory for pro-freedom advocates.

Anders says, "I’m pleased to inform you that the matter has been referred for hearing and determination by the Full Court in The Supreme Court of South Australia. … It is a further step towards democracy and a blow to the prosecutors judging by their reaction when the decision was read."

If the next stage of the defense is unsuccessful, Anders intends to appeal. He says he will take it “all the way” and he says he is “prepared to spend a couple of days in jail if that’s what it takes”.

This writer finds it absolutely abhorrent that an Australian citizen needs to contemplate jail time in defense of the basic democratic freedom to vote. This type of injustice could only occur in some ten countries in the world, because only ten countries enforce compulsory voting, including Australia.

Anders is defending his perfectly legitimate right to not vote. He has done absolutely nothing wrong and he has expressed a completely valid and legitimate political opinion.

As Anders points out, “there is no law that specifically states we must attend the polling booth.” Clearly the compulsory voting laws relate to voting, not attendance. They unfairly affect our most fundamental democratic freedom.

If the Constitution of Australia has any purpose at all, it must protect our right to vote. The government’s oppressive threats of fines and jail terms for non-compliance pollute the free will of the individual and distort the electoral sample.

Many countries with voluntary voting have higher voter turnouts than we do, including Sweden, Denmark, Iceland and Malta. New Zealand also has similar voter turnouts to Australia’s 81%. Yet our number includes a high proportion of donkey votes, informal votes and blind guesses. Over 10% of eligible Australian voters are not even registered to vote.

In most other democracies people only vote because they want to vote. They vote because they are informed and engaged with the process. Clearly, everybody should have the same free choice to vote—free from government coercion. When this is the case, the electoral sample is almost perfect.

Under voluntary voting leaders who cannot educate, inform, motivate, inspire and ultimately empower the electorate will be replaced by leaders who can – true democratic leaders. Voluntary voting holds leaders to a higher standard. It also obligates leaders to promote democracy and freedom in order to gain votes. This is the type of education Australia needs.

Through Anders Holmdahl’s defense of freedom, let’s hope that more Australians come to value freedom, and in the end our freedom is finally restored.

Jason Kent Free Our Right To Vote

Compulsory voting: undemocratic infringement of free will, says Anders Holmdahl

The current electoral laws are illogical, confusing and represent an undemocratic infringement of free will.

Following the intense debate that my legal challenge to compulsory voting has created, I wish to stress that I’m not challenging our right to vote and firmly believe all citizens should vote. In a democracy the government is “chosen by the people”. However, nothing indicates, or even suggests, compulsion.

The word ‘vote’ means the exercise of free will; that is, an unforced choice. The Australian Constitution gives the electors the right to make his or her choice fully, unforced and freely and the parliament clearly intended that each and every elector must have freedom of choice by ensuring that voting is secret. Therefore compulsory voting is a law which cannot be enforced. If you leave the ballot paper blank or deliberately incorrectly marked you cannot be convicted of any offence.

Section 245(15) in the 1918 Commonwealth Electoral Act states: “It is the duty of every elector to vote by filling in a ballot paper in a manner described in section 240”. To define voting as a duty involves a fundamental misconception of the word “vote”. In exercising free will you cannot be forced to mark the ballot paper in such a way as to indicate a preference for any particular candidate. A right is something you are privileged to be granted; a duty is something you are required to do. Therefore, the two are contradictory.

There is no specifically defined offence for failing to attend a polling booth. No offence can be committed unless it can be related to a specific legislation. So why are we being fined?

In the latest Federal election 6.78% of electors did not turn up at a polling station and 5.55% deposited an informal vote. The result is identical but those not turning up at a polling station will be pursued, fined or prosecuted.

The main argument raised against eradicating compulsory voting seems to be that the turnout will fall. Although this may be the case, shouldn’t governments in a democracy be elected by the people wishing to vote and not by the number of people turning up?

The current electoral laws are illogical, confusing and represent an undemocratic infringement of free will. The electoral provisions seem not to require a person to make a choice. All they require is an attendance at the polling station without any need to mark the ballot paper at all. By all definitions, this doesn’t constitute voting but you avoid getting fined. It’s time Australian voters, like in the vast majority of the world’s democracies, are treated as adults.

Anders Holmdahl

Posted by Free Our Right To Vote

Truth is the first victim in the war on democracy

Anders Holmdahl’s Supreme Court challenge against compulsory voting has triggered all of the usual lies about compulsory voting.

Here’s the top 10:

1. Australia’s voter turnouts are 95%, and have never dropped below 90%.

This is a common lie that has spread throughout the world. In fact our voter turnouts are only 81% when all eligible voters are taken into account, which of course they must be. The higher turnout figure leaves 10%+ of unregistered voters out of the equation entirely. They do this to make Australia appear more 'democratic' than it really is.

2. America is corrupt and undemocratic because they have voluntary voting.

In fact, only 10 countries in the whole entire world enforce compulsory voting. And these 10 nations are no great bastions of democratic freedom – far from it. It is actually the countries with enforced compulsory voting that are more corrupt and less democratic.

3. Compulsory voting increases voter turnouts.

At 81% Australia’s voter turnout is lower than many countries where voting is voluntary including Sweden, Denmark, Iceland and Malta. Compulsory voting can actually drive turnouts down by increasing non-registered voters, informal and donkey votes. Compulsory voting was abolished in Chile as a result of low and falling voter participation.

4. Having rights doesn’t necessarily imply we have the inverse of those rights.

This would mean that we have the right to pay tax, follow the building code and drive below the speed limit. These are not rights. They are not freedoms. We are forced to do these things.

5. Our decision to vote should not be democratic.

They say that when our decision to vote is undemocratic, our democracy is more democratic. This is completely absurd. They are trying to tell us that our free choice or our free will does not matter when it comes to our vote.

6. Voting isn’t really compulsory and it is only attendance that is compulsory.

This ignores the fact that the reason people are forced to attend the polling booth is so they vote. Otherwise, why enforce compulsory voting at all?

7. Nobody has really been penalized for not voting in Australia.

Over 50 Australian’s have been sentenced to jail terms for not paying fines for not voting and many more have paid fines.

8. Voluntary voting leads to electoral fraud.

While only ten nations in the world enforce compulsory voting this would seem very strange. Besides, electoral fraud can easily be avoided by requiring people to show identification at the polling booth.

9. Compulsory voting leads to a more representative government.

Under compulsory voting the electoral sample is tainted or biased. When our decision to vote is democratic, the sample is almost perfect because everybody has the same freedom or right to choose to vote, irrespective of turnouts, which can also be higher under voluntary voting. Under voluntary voting 100% of the people vote because they want to vote, because they are informed and egnaged with the process.

10. People are more engaged with the process when they are forced to the polls.

Then why do we have such high levels of donkey and informal votes? Why are over 10% of eligible voters not even registered to vote? Why does the government even feel the need to penalize people for not voting, when so many other countries have higher voter turnouts than we do, under voluntary voting? Clearly, Australians are not more engaged, mentally or physically.

Voluntary voting requires leaders to promote democracy, freedom, and empower the electorate. If the people don't believe they are free because their vote really matters, they can simply switch off. And they should be free to switch off. That's democracy!

Voluntary voting puts greater onus on our leaders to motivate their base and reduce political apathy. They do this, not by force, but with good ideas and honest ideology. Today our leaders have becom uninspiring as they hide behind the facade of centrality. This confuses people and breads political apathy.

Under voluntary voting, leaders who are not able to educate, motivate, inspire and empower the electorate will be replaced by leaders who can. Voluntary voting raises the bar by making votes less easy to come by.

As our voter turnouts fall even further (not as a result of people being satisfied) and people become more disillusioned with our uninspiring-political-duopoly, we are likely to follow Chile, Austria, The Netherlands, Venezuela and Italy who have all abolished compulsory voting.

One other misconception is that we would need a referendum to change the electoral laws and remove compulsory voting. We don’t. All that is required is a simple vote in parliament.

Our decision to vote should be democratic.

Jason Kent supports the groups Free Our Right To Vote and Eureka Freedom Rally on Facebook.

Australia punishes freedom and empowers bullies

Some people argue that being forced to attend the polling booth on polling day is no great burden, so we shouldn’t complain. This misses the point entirely.

If a bully in the schoolyard ordered you to tie his shoelaces, what would you do?

Some people argue that being forced to attend the polling booth on polling day is no great burden, so we shouldn’t complain. It may be true that voting’s not a burden, but that’s not the point. Voting is something we do for ourselves, and not as a service to the government.

Compulsory voting is enforced in only 9 countries in the world, for the simple reason that our decision to vote should be democratic. It should be our choice if we attend the polling booth. That’s what makes democracy democratic.

Recently Chile abolished compulsory voting. They had a problem with people avoiding registering to vote so as to avoid the fines and penalties. The same thing is happening here. Over ten percent of eligible voters are not registered to vote, and many more submit informal ballots.

Who knows how many more Australians submit donkey votes or blind guesses—merely to avoid a fine. We could have the world’s lowest number of ‘real’ votes and we’d never even know it because compulsory voting hides the truth.

Our actual voter turnout is only 81%. This is lower than Sweden, Denmark, Iceland, Malta and many others countries where voting is voluntary. In those countries, people vote because they want to vote. They vote because they are informed and engaged with the process. They are not thoughtlessly going through the motions to serve the government.

Some politicians like to promote artificially high voter turnouts to make themselves appear more legitimate, powerful, or popular. They say our turnouts are 93%, which is only the number of registered voters who vote. Over 10% aren’t registered. Our turnouts are probably a lot lower than 81%. But again, who knows?

In Chile, voter registration is now automatic and voting is voluntary. Today in Chile, everybody has the same freedom to vote, and nobody is forced to attend the polling booth. Their system is much fairer than ours because their electoral sample is now chosen from the entire population, democratically, rather than from only registered voters. And their system does not favour compliance over freedom and put upwards pressure on the size and power of government.

But the worst element of compulsory voting is the message that it sends. Australian citizens are punished if they don’t bend over and tie the bully’s shoelaces. Our system punishes innocent people who have done absolutely nothing wrong. We punish freedom, reward conformity, and celebrate bullying, on the very day when we are supposed to be the most free.

You can’t promote freedom by stealing people’s freedom away from them. The best way to engage and empower the electorate is through peaceful means, such as providing good honest policies.

While the bully in the schoolyard might steal your lunch money, the Australian government is far more brutal. If a registered voter simply does nothing on polling day, they can be fined. If they continue to do nothing they can be sentenced to jail. And if they continue to do nothing, the police can enter their home and cart them away. And if they resist with force, they might even be shot dead. As unlikely as this scenario is, over 50 Australians have been sentenced to jail terms for not voting.

Again, only 9 countries in the world enforce compulsory voting. It’s interesting to look at the other eight countries and ask yourself if this is the type of group we should emulate. No offence to the Democratic Republic of the Congo, but it’s hardly democratic.

These (above) are some of the reasons why compulsory voting is wrong, and why many countries in addition to Chile have abolished it in recent decades, including Italy, Austria, and the Netherlands. We could do the same with a simple vote in parliament.

But one of the biggest problems with compulsory voting is that the political parties do not need to motivate their base (regular supporters) to vote, which forces the parties to focus all of their efforts on the relatively small group of swinging voters at the centre. So instead of becoming polarized and distinct, the political parties merge into one. This is dangerous, and makes it almost impossible for people to make an informed choice on polling day.

Further, when voting is voluntary it forces the political parties to work harder to earn votes. Any leaders who cannot motivate, inspire, educate, and empower the electorate to vote, will be replaced by leaders who can.

The force of law, and ultimately the threat of violence, is not the way to promote freedom or empower the electorate. It does the complete opposite.

If Australians do not understand the concept of freedom, we risk the ravages of an authoritarian and oppressive government regime that would attempt to nationalize the internet, filter the internet, and ultimately ban media bias & free speech.

At the centre of our freedom is our freedom to vote. Leaders who favour the use of force over truth, freedom and democracy, are not the type of leaders we want. We need leaders who are focused on empowering the people, rather than empowering themselves.

Jason Kent supports Free Our Right To Vote and Eureka Freedom Rally on Facebook.