I was just going to reply to Arevanye's comment down there in the comments, but I thought the issue she raised was so horrifying and so serious that it deserved its own entry.
Does anyone remember that ad from back in the 1980s with the catch phrase 'in some countries they don't have advertising'? The ad backfired horribly, because it pretty much made everyone in Australia want to move to those lucky countries, instead of making us realise that advertising meant we could choose nice sofas. At least I think that was what the ad was trying to say anyway.
But Revie's message about sausage sizzle free elections really slugged me with that horrified feeling of 'O no! How the underprivileged Other is suffering. O I do thank my lucky stars that I am Australian and able to scoff a snag on the way home from the voting booth!'.
But then, of course, this morning I caught the bus to work. Action Buses should really get their timetables sorted, because otherwise my brain is going to frizzle (like a sausage at a sizzle). So I started thinking about compulsory voting. Now, I am aware that the people from democracies other than Australia consider compulsory voting to be a little bit, well, undemocratic. They think that citizens should have the political power to choose whether or not they vote as well as who they vote for. Of course, if we got to choose who to vote for really I probably would've voted for Queen Latifah after watching Chicago at the movies, which brings me to the the real nature of Australian compulsory voting. It's really compulsory turning up to the voting booth, having your name crossed off the list, accepting a piece of paper with writing on it and then disposing of the piece of paper thoughtfully in the appropriate cardboard box. They can't make a person actually vote for someone standing in the election. I know for a fact that one of my grandmas had a habit of writing rude comments against all candidates rather than numbering the appropriate boxes. It's called a donkey or informal vote. If 45% of people decide to do this the country explodes and the remaining 55% of people get the day off work (or something like that).
To an Australian the idea of not being compelled to turn up seems odd. How can you be sure that the vote genuinely reflects the desires of the community if a whole bunch of the community members can fulfil their dream of Video Hits instead of fronting up to fill in the appropriate form?
So back to the sausages. I am in two minds. 1. It's only worth holding community fundraising events on election day because absolutely everybody in the area absolutely has to turn up, which creates a decent sized market for your snags, lammos or second-hand books. OR 2. Maybe a sausage sizzle and lamington drive would actually be a top-hole, non-political incentive to get people away from Video Hits on a Saturday morning and into the polling booth? And help the kiddies at the local school at the same time.
I think it's important in either model that no political candidate or party ever benefits directly from the fundraising at the polling booth. No one wants to eat political sausages.