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
- 1902 Australia
- 1906 Finland
- 1913 Norway
- 1915 Denmark
- 1917 Canada
- 1918 Austria, Germany, Poland, Russia
- 1919 Netherlands
- 1920 United States
- 1921 Sweden
- 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.”
Something to Ponder About