'A Lonely and Quixotic Battle': A Short History of Agitation Against Compulsory Voting in Australia

Paul Strangio

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This chapter explores why attempts to kindle debate on compulsory voting in Australia have been largely fruitless. The answer can be found in a number of contributing factors: that compulsory voting is compatible with the national political temperament; that it is buttressed by path dependency; that while there have been spikes of dissent about the practice in the Liberal Party (especially from the 1980s to the first decade of the twenty-first century) that opposition never attained a majority position on the right-of-centre side of politics; that the critics of compulsory voting have been reliant on abstract arguments in contrast to its readily demonstrable benefits (namely, the consistently high voter turnout); that the way in which compulsory voting has been enforced by authorities has been generally lenient; and, most importantly, that compulsory voting has enjoyed sustained and widespread public support.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationA Century of Compulsory Voting in Australia
Subtitle of host publicationGenesis, Impact and Future
EditorsPaul Strangio, Matteo Bonotti
Place of PublicationGateway East, Singapore
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
Number of pages25
ISBN (Electronic)9789813340251
ISBN (Print)9789813340244
Publication statusPublished - 2021

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