Precious right

The Australian election result, whatever the implications for party politics Down Under, is another triumph for its system of compulsory voting. The right to vote in that country is treated as an almost sacred democratic duty for every citizen.

Australia does not get the eye-watering anomalies that are a regular feature of the UK political process. Even at Scottish level – where the percentage of the total electorate choosing to vote is considerably lower than that of a UK general election – we have an administration in power elected by about one-quarter of those eligible to choose.

At local and MEP elections, the figures become farcical, with some European members being chosen by less than 10 per cent of the electorate.

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Universal franchise was fought for by our forefathers. This precious right to elect those who govern should be made compulsory and in that way we can take the first step to end tail-wagging-dog governments and representatives for ever.


New Cut Rigg