Australians, what's the fine for not voting in your country?

I just learned today that Australia has mandatory voting. What do you have to pay if you don’t?

Was A$50 a while ago. I’m not sure now. I’ll go look it up.

I take it that you also have a secret ballot. What if you go into the voting booth and leave your ballot blank? Is that illegal, and can they catch you, you villain?

MaryEFoo, as long as you turn up and receive your ballot papers, you have fulfilled your legal obligation as an elector.

Hijack: Do Australians consider themselves to be a “free” people, as we in the U.S. do?

pkbites, short answer: Yes, of course. Long answer: Yes of course, but I’ve seen enough GD threads to know that we are very different on how that freedom manifests itself. Arms control, political structure, civil liberties generally. Quite different, but the end result is a society that is reasonably similar to the US in its values.

An interesting compulsory votinglink, especially this bit, which was news to me:

To the OP, I’m still having trouble getting a dollar figure for the fine. I suspect it’s $50 still for federal elections, with the various states and territories applying lower amounts.

It depends on the election.

The fine for not voting in a state election varies depending on which state you reside in, usually between $20 and $75. (I think NSW is up to $75 now, TLD)

The fine for not voting in a federal election is $17 ($10 plus $7 Criminal Injuries Levy) :smiley: If this is not paid, $30 is added to the fine amount, presumably because you’d rather pay $47 than $17 :wink: Imprisonment can follow failure to pay non-voting fines.

pkbites, I think most Australian’s would consider themselves ‘free’. I think in some ways we’re ‘freer’ that the average American and in other ways the avergae American is ‘freer’, but it depends on what aspects you value, and that often depends on what culture you were raised in. YMMV, as always :slight_smile:

Wow this is a great idea, mandatory voting.

The US should take a hint!

It looks like the fines can go quite high:

$400 :eek:
Though, to be fair this appears to be someone who is fighting every step of the way, getting fines added at each failed stage. It doesn’t seem to specify whether it was an ACT voter failing to vote in a state or federal election, however.

Hijack and GD territory:

That’s the first step to oppression. Voting is, IMO, a privilige. We’ve had the debate here, with fewer voters showing up every election. Politicians are concerned that this will hurt democracy, seeing that the parliament’s power base gets smaller every four years. Their sollution: Mandatory voting. My sollution - If what politicians can’t make things matter, and they are receiving considerable contempt from the voting public, they need to change, not our election system. They are our servants, we’re not their excuse for staying in power.

But maybe I’m mis-reading you. Care to elaborate?

A link to related matters on G’Dope: Is Donkey Voting Illegal?.

I forgot to vote in the last Council elections. It cost me $A 60. I could have found an excuse, and it almost certainly would have been accepted, but I decided not to.

Well, it seems a better system than the one in Britain where you get fined for losing an election (if you poll less than 5% of the vote: see these).

We have compulsory registration but not compulsory voting. A happy medium I think. How many decide not to vote, is almost as clear an indication of the popularity of the government, as those who vote against them.

Does Australia have a “No Confidence” option on the ballot? I think I’d be more in favor of compulsory voting if this was included (though that’s another debate, I know).

Originally posted by alterego


The freedom of speech includes the freedom not to speak.

Just because not everyone here’s Australian, I feel the need to ask: Is “ACT” the abbreviation for “Australian Capitol Territory”?

On the basis that our government would not work if nobody voted I think everyone should be required to vote.

This fits quite well into the social contract theory. You give up some of your rights for the good of the people because in the end you benefit from it also.

You are correct in that you have the right to freedom of speech, and it is not beyond my creativity to place a check box on the ballot indicating that you think all options suck, or simply “Other”.

I guess I started an official hijacking. Sorry Snooooopy

No problem, alterego. In fact, I almost posted this in IMHO because, in addition to finding out the answer, I wanted to find out what people thought about the concept.

I started this thread in GD to cease the hijack.