The Fifth Estate
Right or Duty? Compulsory Voting in Australia
Sally Warhaft, Kim Rubenstein and Judith Brett
In a democracy, should voting be a citizen’s right or a citizen’s duty?
Australia is one of a small number of countries – including Argentina and Egypt – with mandatory voting. Australia is rare, within this small group of nations, in imposing penalties on citizens who fail to turn up to vote. Compulsory voting has been in place here since 1924 and it sets us apart from other advanced democracies. Less than 60% of the US voting-age population cast ballots in the 2016 presidential election.
For this conversation, we bring together citizenship law expert Kim Rubenstein and the eminent historian Judith Brett, author of From Secret Ballot to Democracy Sausage: How Australia Got Compulsory Voting. They trace the history of our voting system and examine how it’s shaped the tenor of our debates and our sense of ourselves and our representatives – plus, how the system may yet change. With Sally Warhaft, they discuss donkey votes, ballot boxes, barbeques and the wide-ranging implications of compulsory participation.Related listening: Housekeeping Podcast episode
The Wheeler CentreHousekeeping #1: Sizzle / Australia Podcast episode
The Wheeler CentreHousekeeping #2: ID / Government Podcast episode
The Wheeler CentreHousekeeping #3: No-Shows / Australian politics Podcast episode
The Wheeler CentreHousekeeping #4: Scrutiny / Government Podcast episode
The Wheeler CentreHousekeeping #5: Locked Out / Crime
So What If …
AFL Can Cure Democracy?
In Melbourne, Australian Rules football is a way of of life and, for many, a religion. The phenomenally successful launch of the AFLW means football is more inclusive, and more democratic, than ever before.
Can we take lessons from the greatest game – and the greatest sporting culture – in human history and use them to transform our democracy? What…
So What If …
Melbourne Was Underwater?
The experts have spoken – there’s no doubt the water is rising. But what will it mean for Melbournians?
Your suburban backyard might not be growing seaweed, but the effects will be felt across our city as we adapt to new ways of being. What might rising water levels mean for our ports and for waste management? How will our…
So What If …
We Didn’t Have Prisons?
This event is now fully booked. We have reserved spaces for any First Nations people who missed out on a booking – please email email@example.com or call 03 9094 7800 to request one.
Australia’s prison populations are booming and their demographics are heavily skewed – with Indigenous Australians shockingly over-represented. Why do we rely so heavily on prisons in our…
So What If …
Swing by the Wheeler Centre in May for a series of lunchtime talks about the future. In partnership with Melbourne Knowledge Week, we’ll ask: what's broken, what's working, and what should we leave behind?
The Wheeler Centre
Kenan Malik on Identity Politics
Vanessa Pigrum and Kenan Malik
‘Contemporary identity politics is less about confronting injustice than about rebranding it,’ Kenan Malik has written.
In this episode, the provocative and insightful London-based scholar outlines his ideas on the limitations of our preoccupation with identity. What do we mean by ‘identity politics’ anyway? And how does the debate about identity relate to the wider debates that now dominate politics, on immigration, populism and diversity?
Malik looks at the arguments, critiquing claims from right and left, tracing the roots of identity politics – from its nationalist, anti-Enlightenment roots, through the struggles of the civil rights movement to the present day.
After presenting his own arguments, he discusses them with Vanessa Pigrum and takes audience questions. Join him for a conversation about the complicated meaning of justice, liberation and solidarity today.
Anything and everything in Government from across our archives.
BHL on DSK
After former IMF chief and ex-presidential hopeful Dominique Strauss-Kahn was accused of rape at the beginning of last week, the most public of France’s public intellectuals sprang to his aid. Writing in the Daily Beast, Bernard-Henri Lévy, or BHL as he’s known in France, condemned the presumption of guilt inferred in media coverage of the alleged rape of a hotel maid in New York…
Hannie Rayson on the “Worst Election Campaign in History”
Click to watch video.
Playwright Hannie Rayson is over our politicians. “There’s something excessively enervating about opinion polls,” she argues as she sees our politicians becoming less about leading as they focus on focus groups and soundbites. She wants more inspiration and more “saying what matters” that she’s seen in the arts.
As the Victorian state election approaches, Rayson reckons “We need the arts…
Egypt - A Reader’s Guide
How times change. Twenty years ago, when the Iron Curtain came tumbling down, readers in Australia observed the historical events through the prism of the Australian media. As some 2 million Cairenes gather in Tahrir Square chanting (according to Al Jazeera) ‘Irhal!’, or ‘Leave!’, onlookers from around the world are observing events from their computer screens. Here are some shortcuts for those wanting to…
The Wheeler Centre
New News: Media Policy: Has Australia Got One, and Does it Need One?
Lunchbox / Soapbox
Rob Fowler: Rolling Back the Years: Regression in Commonwealth Environment Laws
Ingrid Betancourt on the Secret to Surviving Captivity
(Click to watch video.)
“I was surrounded by people that hated me. And when people hate you [on] a daily basis, your identity is shaken to the point that you think perhaps, ‘I’m not worthy of being loved’.” So said Ingrid Betancourt, French-Colombian politician and author of the memoir Even Silence Has an End, when she appeared in Melbourne as a guest of…
New News by the Centre for Advancing Journalism
Keynote Discussion: Peter Greste on a Proposed International Charter for the Protection of Journalists
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