My daughter voted for the first time ever yesterday. It was a proud and important milestone for both of us. Time for her to exercise her democratic right as an Australian female citizen.
For centuries, women were disregarded as not being able to understand the complexities of the parliamentary system and relegated to the parlour where embroidering was a more suited pursuit.
If my daughter had been born over 100 years ago, she would not have qualified to vote. Thank goodness times have changed.
It is unsurprising to see which countries offered universal suffrage first:
“New Zealand was the first country to allow women to vote -1893 – [ well done, sister kiwis], while the King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia granted women the right to vote in 2011. “
1893 New Zealand
1918 Austria, Germany, Poland, Russia
1920 United States
1928 Britain, Ireland
“Compulsory voting for national elections was introduced in Australia in 1924, following a pronounced fall in turnout at the 1922 federal election. “
Furthermore, I have grown up knowing voting was once a privilege of the landed gentry, or a domain of men, and thus, take my democratic right very seriously. I am Australian and we expect to vote. It is compulsory here. Yet for many people, voting is a painful process, they avoid it, cast an informal protest vote, or don’t vote at all.
When you think of how many generations did not have a say in how their government was run, it is sobering to think that some would take this right to determine our parliamentary makeup frivolously.
American Thomas Jefferson noted,
” We do not have government by the majority.
We have Government by the majority who participate.”
Whilst many other countries don’t make it compulsory to vote, be it bad or good, our compulsory system, means we do get a more comprehensive view of the public’s wishes in our federal elections. Notwithstanding the preferential voting systems, of course.
“Bad Officials are elected by good citizens who don’t vote.”
~ George Jean Nathan
Do you agree with Preferential system of voting? Or, ‘first past the post’? [ie. those with the most votes in first place].
Should voting be compulsory?
As Ab Lincoln said, “the ballot is better than the bullet.”
The ancient Egyptians are believed to be the first to invent a four-legged seat with a back,… The earliest examples have been found in tombs dating as far back as 2680 B.C”
The most common theories are that the chair was an outgrowth of indigenous Chinese furniture, that it evolved from a camp stool imported from Central Asia, that it was introduced to China by Nestorian missionaries in the seventh century, and that the chair came to China from India.
Thanks to Snow for this week’s excellent prompt for Friendly Friday. I’ll be back next week with a new prompt. Be sure to check out all this week’s participants linked in the comments section on Snow ‘s blog.
Early this morning, April 25, more people than usual were up early. What’s more, they were all walking past my house. Where were they going?
If April 25 holds any significance for you, I won’t have to tell you.
At the end of my street is a memorial to Australia’s and New Zealand’s fallen soldiers in war, and April 25 is named, Anzac Day, because of them.
When WWI was declared, many young men, fathers, brothers, sons, signed up as soldiers, volunteering to fight with their Allies in Europe. Many of them faked their age so that the armed forces would accept them for duty. The youngest volunteer was James Martin, a mere 14 years and 3 months old.
James Martin, along with my Great Uncle, were amongst the Australian and New Zealand soldiers, who briefly trained for open desert warfare, prior to travelling to the Dardanelles near Turkey, and came to be known as ‘Anzacs.’
‘Anzacs’, because they were the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps.
Anzacs because they fought for 8 months in the hellhole campaign that was steep cliff faces and filthy trenches in a place, known as Gallipoli. 8,141 Australians died at Gallipoli and thousands more were injured. Including my Great Uncle ‘Ted’ – Edward Russell.
Many of Australia’s finest, strongest and youngest men were fatally wounded, including one called James Martin, then just 15 years old.
This was not the worst battle in the war. Many more men died on the battlefields in France. Yet the Anzac ‘diggers’ and this spirit represents a special place in the hearts of Australians. They are the most venerated. Anzac day and its tradition of remembrance of them, becomes more popular each and every year.
We have few real traditions in our country. Perhaps this is the reason we cling to Anzac Day as it binds our nation together as a community?
Perhaps it is the stories of the death of such a young man as James Martin, the loss of such youthful promise, that brings home to each and every one of us, the enduring horror and consequences of war. Such senseless loss.
The following poem and haunting bugle tune never fails to brings tears to my eyes. In the tune, the bugle player summons the troops to assemble; the bugle calls them once, twice, three times, but the fallen soldiers do not come, nor do they answer.
Anzac day commemorates all servicemen and women who served in conflicts, not just those who died. To honour those who paid the supreme sacrifice, we stand in silence, after the reading of the Ode and the Last Post is played.
And what of James Martin’s family, living far away from the battlefields, in Australia? How did they cope without the boy they once held safe, in their arms?
A mother grieving a lost son; a Father who’d never have a beer or teach his son how to fix a broken car; a brother or sister who’d no longer feel the camaraderie between siblings as they grow, a schoolkid who’d lost his mate, and finally the boy himself, who’d never grow old enough, to become a man.
Every armed conflict and terrorist act, hurts more than just nations, soldiers and civilians, but the raw horror and loss cast a long and painful shadow far and wide.
James, like so many other soldiers gave up his tomorrows, so that we could enjoy today.
War is deeply woven into human history. Organized society and conflict appear to have marched side by side, each affecting the other. Wars have changed societies in many ways but changes in society have also affected the nature of war.