Voting in federal and state elections is compulsory in Australia. So on Election Day a carrot and stick approach is used to get the Aussies to the polls. The stick is a hefty fine for non participation. The carrot is, being Australia, a barbecue or sausage sizzle at the polling station. Unlike the UK you can choose where to cast your vote, and a page on the internet listed all the polling stations, and which ones were offering snags (sausages) or cakes- the stalls being run by local charities. We chose a station which combined voting with a school fete- in the hope of better ‘carrots’. Being a mild, sunny winter afternoon, the queue to vote was long, or maybe it was the queue for the snags. As usual, all the canvassers were out, tying to gain some last minute influence on the electoral outcome – beef or pork or vegan? White bread, brown bread. Tomato sauce or mustard?
As a non-citizen I do not have a vote, but I am entitled to the sausages, themselves becoming something of a political issue on Twitter #democracysausage
The voting system itself is complex involving ranking all the candidates in preferential order. Dennis the Election Koala explains it here.
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