When injustice becomes law, resistance becomes duty

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.

Compulsory voting is more popular with the
left wing. The Liberals have opposed automatic voter enrollment while the ALP
pushed it through, and the LNP in Queensland have suggested voluntary voting
while Gillard and Swan bitterly opposed it. 

Liberals around the country have come out
in favour of voluntary voting. Unlike Gillard and Swan, many Liberals feel that
their decision to vote should be their own. Gillard and Swan know that
compulsory voting favours their side of politics.

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.

This is why compulsory voting favours the
ALP. This is also why the ALP will campaign heavily on compulsory voting to
encourage the new 1.5 million voters who have been forced, or think they’ve
been forced onto the electoral roll, to vote. This could make a big difference, especially if they bring back Rudd.

This doesn't mean to say that everyone has
an opinion on compulsory voting. They don’t need to because compulsory voting
changes the flavor of the entire electoral process, from one of freedom to one
of conformity. Unfortunately many Australians still don’t see the difference.
But they can feel it.

In a system that is not free, some people
will always cut their losses and conform. In some ways it’s easier. It’s easier
to put your head down, conform and support the party – the ALP at least, but
not the Liberals. They tell people NOT to conform. They tell people NOT to
vote. They say it’s wrong to be forced against your will to attend the polling
booth. They suggest scrapping compulsory voting.

But why cut off your nose (by not voting)
to spite your face? Isn’t there a better way to protest in favour of democracy?

Some people would say that this is a reason
to comply with compulsory voting. Others say it’s a reason to abolish
compulsory voting. But surely our decision to vote should be democratic;
otherwise we will see our electoral sample continue to be tainted.

A selection bias is created when the
government forces us to attend the polls and this bias favours the very people
who happen to favour the bias. Go figure.

One way to remove this selection bias might
be for the government to select a random sample of voters, like in an opinion poll,
but with a larger sample. The trouble with this method is that it would not be
democratic because the decision to vote would have to be stolen away from the
people. It would mean that the government would choose who votes and who doesn’t.
Clearly the people should be free to make this choice for themselves. That’s
democracy.

In a democracy the people hold the supreme
power, not the government. We should all have the same free and equal
right to vote, free from government coercion. And it would be far better if our
leaders inspired us to vote rather than forcing us to attend the polling booth.

Only when the people are free to decide if they vote, will we have an accurate
electoral sample – a sample that is chosen by the people. After all, if we are capable of deciding
which party we will vote for, we are certainly capable of deciding if we vote.

The only reason people argue for compulsory
voting is to increase voter turnouts. Unfortunately the Australian people have
been lied to for many years about voter turnouts. The government boosts the
figures from 80% to 94% by counting invalid votes as votes and excluding the
10% of eligible voters who aren’t even on the electoral roll.

Our voter age population (VAP) turnouts are
lower than many countries where voting is voluntary, but Australians still think
we have the best voter turnouts in the world thanks to compulsory voting. We've been brainwahed into thinking our lack of freedom makes us more free.

And as our parties converge to attract the swinging voters, with no need to motivate their base, our system is centralised between communism and fascism at the totalitarian end of the political end of the spetrum. See more about Australia's slide towards totalitarianism.

Only nine other nations in the world
enforce compulsory voting and none are great bastions of democratic freedom, far
from it. We are headed in the same direction with threats to free speech,
freedom of association and other basic human rights, on which issues the Liberal's are mute. They can't afford to scare off the swining voters.

There is absolutely no reason to maintain
compulsory voting and every reason to give Australians back their freedom to vote.

Our decision to vote should be democratic.

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.

 

Why we should be free to vote in Australia

IMG_8801 Voting is central to our claim to being a free people. If we are not free to vote, it means we are not free. For example, if we are not free to carry a knife, it doesn’t mean we are not free, it just means we are not free to carry a knife. But if we are not free to vote in favour of carrying a knife, then we are not free – period.

The funny thing about freedom and democracy is that you must believe in the other person’s right to deprive your freedom, in order to support the basic mechanism which provides that freedom in the first place. We must all be free to vote, in order to be free.

In Australia, we are not free to vote. It might sound strange or outrageous, but think of it this way: We are not free to pay tax, we are forced to pay tax; we are not free to follow the road rules, we are forced to follow the road rules; we are not free to comply with the building code, and we are not free to vote. It’s that simple.

The purpose of democracy is that we are free to self-rule. As a free people, we are free to choose our own government. Each individual has equal power to have his or her say as to who should lead our nation. We can choose leaders based on their policies, or for whatever reason we like.

When you force people to vote, it influences their decision, dependant on their political or ethical beliefs. For example, some people don’t like to be forced to make a choice, so they vote informally or avoid registering to vote. In Australia, over 5% of people vote informally and over 10% remain unregistered. This drives our voter turnouts lower than some countries where voting is voluntary, including New Zealand, Sweden, Denmark, and Belgium.

Australia has around the 25th highest voter turnout in the world, but it’s very hard to determine exactly where we sit, because governments tend to pump the figure up to make their countries look more democratic.

So what can you do to get more people to vote? Well, the political parties have a vested interest in encouraging people to vote. If there is a section of the community who doesn’t vote, it’s in a political party’s best interest to attract them. In this way the political parties are somewhat obligated to sell and promote democracy. They must earn their votes when voting is voluntary.

In Australia people are encouraged to vote by force. The government fines us for not voting, and can even jail us if we don’t pay the fine. The trouble is, this means we are no longer free to vote, and it turns people away from the process, because the system is unfair and completely undemocratic.

Some people say ‘we aren’t free to do a lot of things, so what’s the difference with our vote?’ Remember the example: If we are not free to carry a knife, it doesn’t mean we are not free, it just means we are not free to carry a knife. But if we are not free to vote in favour of carrying a knife, then we are not free – period.

People twist this by saying we are free to choose once we enter the polling booth (pick a cell, any cell); and they may be right, but it’s already too late, because for our vote to have meaning it is summed along with the other votes, and unless the people who vote represent the entire population of eligible voters, the results of elections are not representative of the people.

When you force people to vote, it distorts the sample. Some people avoid voting to protest against the coercion, and others avoid registering to vote to maintain and protect their freedom.

If people are free to vote, some people will be more likely to vote, since there will be no reason not to. There will be no reason to avoid registering and no reason to vote informally. If voting were voluntary, our voting rates might actually increase. Either way, the group of people who votes would be a different group of people, or a different sample to the one we use now.

So which group is better – the group who votes because they are forced, or the group who votes voluntarily? Clearly in a democracy it should be the group who votes voluntarily. It should be the people who decide who votes.

Deciding if one votes is as much a part of the voting decision as deciding which party to support. If the government controls our decision to vote, it affects the results of elections by tainting the sample.

The effect of this interference is that elections favour the group who is more likely to conform to the government, than oppose it. Government always wins. This puts upwards pressure on the size of government and the degree of government control, and downwards pressure on individual freedom & liberty.

When we vote, our decision usually comes down to a choice between increasing or decreasing government regulation & control. If we choose to support a carbon tax, NBN, internet filter, media censorship, mining tax, workplace laws, and the like; we are choosing to increase the level of government regulation & control.

There needs to be a balancing force which opposes government control, so that the government doesn’t become ever more powerful. Our government revenue as a percentage of GDP has almost doubled since the sixties and it continues to rise. We call ourselves a nanny state now, but it keeps getting worse.

“Any nation that thinks more of its ease and comfort than its freedom will soon lose its freedom; and the ironical thing about it is that it will lose its ease and comfort too.” W. Somerset Maugham. And for those so-called libertarians who scream freedom but say very little about our freedom to vote. Ask yourself. Do you really care about freedom, or are you only interested in certain types of freedom?

If we are not free to vote, we are not free. It really is that simple.

Jason Kent is a free member of the Liberal Democratic Party and the Facebook groups “Free Our Right To Vote” and “Eureka Freedom Rally”