This weekend just past, I had to vote in the local government elections in New South Wales, Australia. Voting is compulsory here or you cop a small fine. I think it is currently $50-55.00 AU for local government elections. Many chose to pay the fine, while others cast a ‘donkey’ vote, or one that was useless deliberately. Some put down the US president as a choice, while other doodled on the ballot paper. Some others probably tried to vote correctly but did the wrong thing. Many votes were passed in as invalid.
In the local government area where I live, I can’t say that I knew much about the various candidates – with the exception of one whom I regard as a waste of space in local government. Needless to say I didn’t vote for him. I found myself simply voting along traditional lines because I knew no better.
Most candidates are viewed as clowns or worse in elections here, which is quite a shame. Serving one’s country in government should be seen as an honourable profession. However, it is not and those who actually have something useful to offer turn away from the process because of the joke that government is often perceived to be. Those who really can make a difference are choosing to avoid serving in government and that is a real shame.