Public Reason, Compulsory Voting and Australian Democracy

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This chapter explores the connection between compulsory voting in Australia and public reason, i.e. the view that political rules are legitimate only if they are justified by appealing to reasons that all citizens can accept at some level of idealization. While constitutional democracies such as the US assign a significant role to institutions like the Supreme Court in the process of public reasoning, parliamentary supremacy regimes rely instead more extensively on democracy and majorities. In a polity like Australia, which presents many features typical of a parliamentary supremacy regime, compulsory voting can play a key role in guaranteeing public reason, by forcing public officials to take into account a broad variety of perspectives, interests and demands, and therefore refrain from appealing to sectarian non-public reasons when justifying political rules.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationA Century of Compulsory Voting in Australia
Subtitle of host publicationGenesis, Impact and Future
EditorsMatteo Bonotti, Paul Strangio
Place of PublicationGateway East, Singapore
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
Number of pages23
ISBN (Electronic)9789813340251
ISBN (Print)9789813340244
Publication statusPublished - 2021

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