Voting is a right, not a duty, according to Anders Holmdahl, 65, who deliberately skipped Election Day and refused to pay his fine to challenge compulsory voting in the courts:
An Adelaide man says he will take a legal challenge against compulsory voting to the High Court, after the state’s Supreme Court today rejected his argument that voting should be optional.
Now, Mr Holmdahl’s case has as much chance of success in the High Court as I did of winning the Brownlow last night. But that’s not the point.
Mr Holmdahl’s argument that a right not to vote is morally implied is sound.
Let’s hope this case is a catalyst for debate about just how democratic it is for Australians to be forced to turn up on polling day against their free choice.
It seems Tasmania is moving in the opposite direction. A Tasmanian government discussion paper has suggested local councils be given a choice to “opt-in” to compulsory voting, with fines for non-voters to cover the additional costs.
Pity the voters themselves won’t be given a choice where to opt.