Now that I’ve got Australians in the family, I take a particular interest in that particularly interesting land. Australian journalist John Barron offers an amusing and instructive comparison of how our two countries run elections. The Washington Post article is entitled Elections? Here’s How You Do It, Mate.
Down under, campaigns last just six weeks. Everybody must vote under penalty of law (a $20 fine), so there is no question of turnout or stirring up the base. This cuts down on the extremist rhetoric. On moral issues, members of parliament give a “conscience vote,” in which the party may not dictate how members must vote, which prevents one party from monopolizing moral issues. The bottom line, according to Mr. Barron, is that picking one’s governmental leaders is like picking which accountant you want to do your taxes.
Would any of that work here? Should it?