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August 22, 2010

Post Election Day – Or Is That Post Australia Day?

Filed under: Culture And Society — Vasilios Theodorakis @ 9:13 pm

The Australian author David Malouf once said that Australia’s national day only happens every 3 years, and that day is the day of our federal election. Why? Because it epitomises all that is good about Australia and being Australian. i.e. That people can show up in an orderly fashion at polling booths and peacefully re-elect or change the government that is controlling the nation. In this country no one is abused, wounded or murdered when they try to vote. No one is threatened and forced to vote in a particular way, and people feel it’s safe to talk about how they’re going to vote while lining up to collect their ballot paper. I’ve always found the day to have a festive feel about it – where else in the world does that happen? An excellent example of this occurred yesterday at my mother-in-law’s polling booth, where voting was accompanied by a sausage sizzle. :)

Like Mr Malouf, I believe this defines us. There are few countries in the world where elections occur in a stable and safe way. So few in fact, that we are almost unique – especially when you factor in that every adult is obligated to vote. Our compulsory voting system ensures the elected government is a genuine reflection of the view of the people. Not even the US or the UK can match how our parliament is a true refection of the wishes of “all” its citizens.

Yet in spite of this, we will always have the wingers and those who think that voting is an infringement on their “right to choose to vote” and an inconvenience on their time. If these wingers had to swap places with citizens in Rwanda, (where people risk having limbs hacked off while trying to vote) I’m sure they would quickly appreciate what we have here in Australia.

As for me – I look forward to revisiting the cardboard booths and voting in three years time again. It’s the one thing about our nation that continues to fill me with pride.

Copyright © Vasilios Theodorakis 2010

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