The Franchise

If government is to be by the consent of the governed, then the governed must be fully enfranchised. Voting rights must be protected, and any attempt to limit voting rights needs to be quickly extinguished.

If the only way voters have to express their opinions is by casting a ballot every three, four, or five years, then they can quickly become disconnected from the process. We need to find a way to give the electorate a greater say in government and I will have some suggestions in subsequent articles.

There is also the age of the franchise, with 18 being the current age to cast a vote. A case can and must be made, for lowering the age of voting to, at least, coincide with the age at which many people begin to earn wages and pay tax, even if just in a part-time after school job. A case of “No taxation without representation” perhaps.

Many decisions can have long-reaching effects, such as changes to Superannuation, Aged Pensions, etc. and those who may most be affected by the changes may not be able to cast a vote.

We are not worried, or I’m certainly not worried, about what might happen in 30 years’ time. Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack

At the other end of the scale, do we permit some or all prisoners to vote? Are they denied their franchise as part of the punishment for the crimes, and do they regain on completion of the sentence?

Author: Roj Blake

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