Lead by Donkeys

Vote 1. Donkey cutout

Is it any wonder why politicians elected
under an undemocratic system would defend that system? Well, that’s exactly
what they are doing. 

While we can’t stop people making
uninformed choices at the polling booth, donkey voting is very much a symptom
of compulsory voting.

Some people select candidates at random, take
a stab in the dark, confuse party names, or treat the election as if it were a Melbourne
Cup horse race and pick the party, or should I say donkey, with the best
sounding name, irrespective of form.

Of course it’s easy to blame the
individuals who do this, but it does happen. And the system itself tells people
that they should vote. It’s illegal not to. So technically donkey voters are
obeying the law, even if the system has made donkeys out of them.

And then there is the complex preferencing
system. Where preferences rely on secretive backroom deals, unknown to voters,
or when people select preferences because they have no choice, whether they like the alternatives or not.

So what’s the result? Politicians elected
undemocratically, not based on the will of the people, but due to a sampling
error or a selection bias. And the trouble is, the problem is swept under the rug.

Why would politicians who have prospered
under an undemocratic system complain? Why would they claim that their newly bestowed
power is illegitimate? After all, many of them have worked hard to play the
system.

At best politicians keep their mouths shut
or smugly placate the electorate with glib suggestions of change, while others
promote the undemocratic nature of the system as a virtue, in order to maintain
the system that favours their style of politics.

Clearly we should all have the same free
and equal right to vote, free from government coercion. Our decision to vote
should be democratic, and our choice should be final.

But who will champion electoral reform? The Queen?
Because the politicians almost certainly won’t.

I think Australian politicians are afraid of
democracy. Scared of losing support if the people’s decision to vote
were democratic.

Jason Kent

Free Our Right To Vote

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

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

 

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