COMM11108: Communication and the Political Process, blog 3, Australia’s Missing Voters

Figure 1: Voting Guide Source: AEC (2014)
Figure 1: Voting Guide
Source: AEC (2014)

The issue of the electoral system is a national one, according to Miragliotta, Errington & Barry (2013) the Australian Electoral Commission estimated in 2013 that 1.5 million names were absent from the electoral roll.

Former PM Julia Gillard Permitted the introduction of AEC being able to automatically enrol a citizen when they turn eighteen. Many could see this as removing the freedom of the individual to choose to vote or not. Although, there is a benefit in the entire population voting for their preferred political party. According to Miragliotta, Errington & Barry (2013) the benefit of voting is that we get to hold an elected representative to account. However, one may ask if that is truly the case.

As the power to remove a Prime Minister when they break policy promises when elected, is false as there is no actual power given to Australians to remove a Prime Minister in power (Commonwealth of Australia). The double dissolution does exist; however, according to Corcoran & Dickenson (2010) the governor general has the power to dissolve parliament, but traditionally only does so on the advice of the prime minister.

This suggests that the Prime Minister does not get held accountable for any or all actions taken which may be deemed as wrong (Commonwealth of Australia). Yet, they have the power to rule the entire country and make many decisions with the potential to ruined millions of people’s lives.

An example of a Prime Minister breaking promises is Tony Abbot, most of the Prime Minister’s policies are being fought and not passed either, as well as Treasurer Joe Hockey’s budgets not passing through parliament and yet the governor general has still not called a double dissolution.

Australian electoral Commission (2015) suggest that there are 1, 100, 446 missing from the electoral roll which means there is only 93.2% enrolled in Australia. Northern Territory has the lowest number of eligible Australians enrolled at 79.3% of the eligible population (Australian electoral Commission 2015).

Figure 2: You can't waste your vote Source: Patrick (2013)
Figure 2: You can’t waste your vote
Source: Patrick (2013)

This large population if they chose could swing the vote either way (Corcoran & Dickenson 2010). Reasons for not voting Hamilton (2015) may include:

  • Disbelief that their vote count
  • Not wanting anything to do with the government
  • Not Liking either candidates
  • Not seeing a point

Thus the government attempts to remove the Australian people’s freedom to make them vote, but taking away the freedom of the people is not how to go about it.

Figure References

Australian Electoral Commission 2014, Make sure you count: a guide to enrolling and voting, digital image, viewed 7 September, http://www.aec.gov.au/voting/your_vote.htm

Patrick 2013, You can’t waste your vote, digital image, viewed 7 September, http://www.chickennation.com/2013/08/18/you-cant-waste-your-vote/

References

Australian Electoral Commission 2015, Enrolment statistics, viewed 7 September 2015, http://www.aec.gov.au/Enrolling_to_vote/Enrolment_stats/

Australian Electoral Commission 2015, Enrolment statistics, viewed 7 September 2015, http://www.aec.gov.au/Enrolling_to_vote/Enrolment_stats/national/2015.htm

Commonwealth of Australia n.d, Powers practice and procedure, viewed 10 September 2015, http://www.aph.gov.au/About_Parliament/House_of_Representatives/Powers_practice_and_procedure/practice/chapter2#pri

Corcoran R & Dickenson J 2010, A dictionary of Australian politics, Allen & Unwin, Crows Nest.

Hamilton, L 2015, On voting or not voting, viewed 7 September, http://www.myeasternshoremd.com/opinion/article_7f68d2b7-ff76-5bff-bed2-7efc81209ffa.html

Miragliotta, N, Errington, W & Barry, N 2013, The Australian Political system in action, Oxford University Press, Melbourne.

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