At least once every three or four years we are called on to vote to elect our representatives to the various Australian parliaments. (Admittedly , one of them – the Commonwealth – claims it alone is the Australian Parliament.)
The point of the exercise is that, exposed to the various arguments which reach their peak just before the election, we go to the polling stations and make our decision on the same day and in the same way, in security and in secret.
The politicians insist that we must cast a vote even if it is informal. They make it an offence not to do so. Then they collect money for every vote cast. Vast sums of money.
Just consider that. They force you to cast a vote. But they have passed a law which rewards them for every such forced vote.
Now that does that sound like a conflict of interest?
In any event, under our system of representative democracy, we to all go to the polling stations on one day .
Of course there may be exceptional circumstances. People who are bedridden. Farmers caught by floods. Australians overseas. But the principle is clear. We should hear the same arguments and then go in public to a polling station and vote in security and in secret.
The politicians have whittled away at this, reducing the integrity and honesty of the system.
They did this on the laughable basis that they had to make it easier to vote. Nobody was arguing that it was difficult to vote. They did this to make it easier to defraud your vote.
Once upon a time you went to a designated polling station. Now you can vote in any polling station in your electorate, making a nonsense of the ruling off your name.
The politicians have deliberately ensured that ruling off your name is a nonsense. They have steadfastly refused to link the polling stations so that when a name is ruled off the name is ruled off everywhere across the Commonwealth.
Now it couldn't be the cost – how many millions are we spending on an ambassador for women in the Pacific? Or superannuation to former politicians who are not even close to retiring age?
Then there is the ridiculously ease with which any new name can be added to the roll especially in the period between the calling of election and the closing of the rolls.
On an urgent application brought nominally by two people in breach of the electoral law but in reality by the left wing ideologues at Getup! four out of seven High Court judges rushed through a decision before the 2010 election.
They decided that the Constitution does not allow the rolls to be closed immediately the election is called even though everybody interested knew an election was due. Now you won't find words to the effect of the Constitution . And it is difficult to see how it is implied. But four judges decided this but took months to give their reasons just before Christmas.
The point is that postal voting and voting before election day – pre-polling – opens the system to even more fraud. And importantly, they haven't heard all of the arguments and debate in the same way that those who vote personally have heard it.
Now there's a proposal for Internet voting. They can't even link the rolls so that when your name is ruled off it is ruled off everywhere. But we're thinking about Internet voting.
There has to be public confidence in the electoral system. What has been happening in Western Australia and scandals in previous years are taking away that confidence.
Without a paper trail how can we really know that Internet voting will be secure? And in any event is on the idea in a democracy that we actually go to the polling stations and be seen to enter there, with all sorts of people outside trying to persuade us to vote in a particular way?
Is this far more democratic than doing it on a computer or mobile phone under perhaps the pressure and instruction for someone else? We've heard already in New South Wales how party electoral document have been collected and filled in on behalf of powerbrokers who are building up alliances? Back in the 80s they were talking about making voting easier. This will make it even more easy. It also make it very easy to direct people how to vote.
It takes away the democratic nature of people actually going publicly to the polling station. In this superb Quadrant piece, Matthew Heeney explains why we should not accept Internet voting.