Auspol, Economics, Political failure, Politics

Why Australia needs a Job Guarantee Scheme

Photo by Rawpixel on Unsplash

Introduction

Jobs or lack thereof are at crisis point in Australia – it has been for years. However, many people in employment remain unaware of the problem.

Buried beneath the snow storm of PR headlines for over a decade were an unseen group of workers. These included, the unemployed, underemployed, migrants, students, and experienced workers. They haven’t disappeared, they’re still there, untouched by over 20 years of growth. Their bulging ranks are continuing to swell with new labor-market entrants and the precariat.

For each available job, 8 people are competing for one job. According to David Shoebridge, MLC it’s 16 job seekers applying for one job. For some jobs, the level of competition spiked in the 1990s.

Given the centrality of work to life sustenance, what is transpiring here is a crisis. Yet the major parties are offering no solutions. It’s the same old stuff penalties, demonisation and debt slavery.

The old let the market rip won’t work (it never did).

What is a job guarantee?

Enter a job guarantee scheme. A job guarantee scheme would guarantee job seekers real work. A job guarantee is also not a punitive, populist workfare scheme.

Those employed within the Job Guarantee Scheme would be paid a living wage. They would also be entitled to leave, including award wages, sick leave and overtime.

Workers would not be employees of the Australian Public Service, but part of a new publicly funded service. Government would not need to acquire businesses. All jobs created would be new jobs, no existing employees would be displaced. Job Guarantee participants like support workers would work for agencies. Hence, the Commonwealth is the payer and the agency the service provider.

Some may ask, isn’t creating new jobs just reinventing the wheel? No actually it isn’t because the data clearly shows that the private sector has not delivered the jobs for the unemployed.

Furthermore, since the ’70s inflation has been prioritised over unemployment by policy-makers. According to Professor John Buchanan ” years on, it’s… clear that has been an ineffectual strategy for really doing something serious about unemployment — and, basically, triggered a significant rise in underemployment.”

How would a Job Guarantee Scheme work?

So, let’s say a recent graduate or a mature job seeker is seeking employment, as a a Job Guarantee Scheme participant. They would see a job counsellor at a local organisation (preferably newly re-established CES, more on that later). The JSG counsellor would interview and match the JGS participant to a federally-funded job. This job might be in environmental work, community, child care or caring work.

Under a job guarantee, JGS workers engaged in their communities would spend more within their communities. They would pay more tax, which results in more GST revenue and also improved business tax revenue. All up, the cost is approx $25 billion. This money would kickstart an ailing economy, as happened during the GFC with Kevin Rudd’s stimulus package.

Furthermore, to implement a Job Guarantee Scheme, Australia must re-establish the CES. This is imperative. It’s not profit driven, so it would be focused on job-seekers ,unlike the Job Services Network, which even Coalition stalwart Peter Strong at the Small Business Council says “government-funded employment services (such as Job Active and Australian Apprenticeship Centres) are a woeful waste of money and do not meet the needs of local employers or employees.”

Payments

All workers under a job guarantee would be paid at a minimum or living wage. These would be financed “out of general government revenue, not income tax“, as current social security payments are, according to Professor Peter Whiteford of the ANU Crawford School of Public Policy.

When social security can be financed from the government revenue, why does the government not choose to finance employment from there instead?

Spending decisions made by government impacts on levels of employment. In fact, unemployment is a government policy choice. This is a point agreed on by progressive economists, some academics, and some bureaucrats.

The political giants of the twentieth century – Franklin D Roosevelt, Clement Attlee, John Curtin and Ben Chifley and their immediate successors understood this. They knew that only government had the capacity to implement genuine full-employment. When any form of crisis is apparent, the onus is on government to act, arguments about affordability are bunkum.

The cost to the taxpayer

A Job Guarantee Scheme could be financed through government borrowing. Under borrowing arrangements, taxpayers don’t finance the expenditure. Investors (often super funds) lend the money to government. Taxpayers would repay that debt.

Furthermore, government debt isn’t a laden weight on future generations. Quite the reverse.

People will only be worse off if the government cuts spending and increases unemployment, according to Warwick Smith, an economist at Percapita. Reduced consumer spending hits the whole economy. It also reduces the taxation returned to the government.

How do we pay for it?

Paying for a Job Guarantee Scheme is easy. Is affordability for JGS participation is an issue for cash-strapped households? Absolutely! However, affordability isn’t an issue for governments, who can easily finance expenditure in a crisis.

Parliament would pass an appropriation bill, and the Reserve Bank of Australia would clear the payment.

Government bonds could finance a job guarantee.

Alternatively, Modern Monetary Theorists (MMTs) advocate that while spare capacity exists in the economy, a currency-issuing government should use targeted expenditure. The main constraint on spending is inflation, not taxation or borrowing.

The Overall obstacle to a Job Guarantee Scheme

There are two obstacles to a Job Guarantee Scheme. The first is the mindless neo-liberal mantra of low government debt. Neither high or low government debt proves economic competence – it’s what the money is spent on.

The second reason why money isn’t going to the neediest is because it’s been stuffed into the already swollen pockets of fat plutocrats. Want examples of this lavish government spending? Here’s just two: with money from the job services program and the Cashless welfare card alone, the government could finance a Job Guarantee Scheme.

Conclusion

In the past, Australia would have opted for a market solution. At present, Australia is confronted by skyrocketing levels of inequality. Hence, the ‘hands- off, let the market solve the problem’ attitude is no longer fit for the purpose (it never really was). Furthermore, the challenges of the 21st century require nation-building solutions. They do not require tone-deaf chants about fiscal responsibility and budget repair. The history books will condemn those politicians who ignored the most significant problems.

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Auspol, Economics, Politics

An uncertain labour-market means it’s time to make Australian higher education free again

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Photo by Logan Isbell on Unsplash

The world of work has been transformed. At one time, there was secure employment for all and you trained for an occupation. Furthermore, whether you had good credentials, or were an unqualified or experienced worker, you still have avenues to secure employment.

Due to today’s much more fluid labour market, workers need to consider changing careers more often.  Therefore, in an environment where, let’s face it, neither policymakers, commentators, students nor academics have a crystal ball, we need a system that enables rapid career change.

The changed employment landscape has been shaped by a few factors:

· Automation

· The downsizing of the public and private sectors

· Outsourcing under free trade agreements

· The large-scale disappearance of graduate and entry-level jobs

In this environment, it’s little wonder that newly qualified graduates struggle.

Around 30 years ago, it took most graduates about a year to find employment. Fast-forward three decades and many graduates, school leavers and vocational graduates take 4.7 years to find full-time work, according to Holly Ransom.

It’s important to note that Ransom’s claim stacks up.  Her figure has been verified by the ABC.  The figure originally came from research performed by National Centre for Vocation Education Research (NCVER). NCVER conducted research for the Foundation for Young Australians.  They based their statistical data on ABS figures.

Many students, like these, have to juggle competing responsibilities to secure employment. Many take unpaid internships which are possibly illegal by Fair Work Australia guidelines in order to achieve their objective. 

The struggle of graduates seem to be backed up by a drop in full-time employment to within four months of graduation from 85.9% in 2008 to 72.9%.  It’s important to note that many in work were in some form of employment, other than the area for which they were trained.

In addition, the graduates surveyed didn’t come from the entire graduate population for a given year; rather, for instance, the 2017 survey only included under 45 % of people who graduated, according to Charis Chang. While this may seem of little concern, the higher the participation rate, the more statistically accurate the survey. In addition, the survey has a self-selection bias because it’s up to the sample population to respond.

 In addition, behind this overall figure lies thousands of stories. Some of them are joyful stories of graduates embracing the challenge of university and reaping the rewards. Others lament that they ever attended university, particularly those who qualified in a saturated market. Further, overall figures offer no insight into individual graduate experiences. Some graduate from courses where many can’t secure employment because of a long-standing oversupply of graduates and a lacklustre labour-market.

While a university degree no doubt improves a graduates chance of employment, a degree is no longer the iron-clad guarantee it once was.Further, because of the sheer numbers of students graduating, many are settling for part-time employment.

Let’s stop and put this into context. Australia is a country where politicians love to boast about 27 years of economic growth. Clearly, the benefits of this growth have not flowed to everyone.

Hence, [continuing with a system that allows students to rack up sizeable debts ignores the burden of private debt and the uncertainty of employment prospects.

Instead of taking off their blindfolds, policymakers conveniently assume that a degree equals employment. Sure, some people get good jobs upon graduation.  Many though, take time to secure suited work, some don’t succeed at all and struggle to obtain low-paid roles as they are deemed over-qualified.

While we can’t guarantee every graduate a job in their desired field, we can do better than we are at the moment. Currently, graduates are spilling out of universities when there’s little demand for some of them in the workplace. Even a rudimentary check made by policymakers would confirm this.

Yet, the Commonwealth government hasn’t investigated graduate destinations thoroughly. A standard survey is emailed to graduates within four months of them finishing university. However, there’s no long-term follow-up, say five years after graduation.

If the government is really interested in training people for the future, then why has no attempt been made to investigate graduates’ career trajectories?

Anyone familiar with the rapid changes seen in the workplace should be aware of why it’s necessary. It’s because, in short, even the most farsighted of public servants, university administrators, academics, labour-market experts or students simply can’t predict the future. It doesn’t matter how switched on or strategic they are. The only certainty in the job market of the future is uncertainty.

That’s why locking people into expensive degree programs may not be worthwhile for some students. Some students complete courses and find out that they don’t want to work in that field; others try out fields and see that the market is uninterested in graduates; many find that there isn’t enough work.

Therefore, people need to be able to make swift career changes. However, for some people, fees are a barrier to retraining. That’s why Victorian Labor and the NSW Labor opposition have proposed free technical and further education (TAFE).

The costs to society and employers of debt

Many will think: Well, people can retrain, can’t they? Not everyone can retrain. Sometimes, personal circumstances stop people retraining.

Also, student debt can keep students locked into pursuing a particular career path – one that they loathe. It’s also well-known that any form of private debt is a form of control.

Mortgages, personal loans, student debt and payday loans all limit spending. They can also determine people’s future family size options, affecting whether they can afford to rent or, eventually, afford a mortgage.

Also, we need to consider that today’s students need a free education more than some of their predecessors.  There is uncertainty of employment in a rapidly changing environment (mentioned earlier). Further, due to oversupply in the relevant labour marketplaces, wage rises and job permanence guarantees for today’s graduates and workers in general, seem very difficult to come by. The lower wage rises and impermance affects the entire community, with reduced spending and a formidable barrier preventing entry to a still overpriced property market, currently undergoing a major correction. Considering these factors, it’s hard to justify high student fees, even for those who secure employment.

Furthermore, debts can result in costs for both employers and workers: employers may end up with workers who are underperforming at their jobs; workers effectively become well-qualified wage slaves.

Other arguments in favour of university fees

Another less common argument against free education is that financing free tertiary education would bankrupt the government. I’m afraid that’s not right. Currency issuing governments, like Australia, can’t go broke. Why? Because our currency is no longer based on the gold standard.

Another argument in support of fees is the increase in graduate jobs. This argument is difficult to support. Sure, there’s robust demand for healthcare graduates and professionals with several years of experience. But for many graduates, it’s a different story.

An uncommon argument in support of fees, made by the architect of HECS, is that Karl Marx opposed free education. Okay, so maybe he (Marx) did, but what’s the significance of that ad hominem argument?

Okay, so we need to fund a better system, but don’t use my taxpayer dollars

Many people hear the word free and think: Not on my tax dollar thank you – there’s no such thing as free. Some do this unthinkingly, merely reciting what they’ve heard said by a friend or a commentator over the years. Others genuinely believe that all government spending is financed by tax dollars. In fact, bond issuance and proceeds from the future fund also provide a significant revenue source for the government, according to Peter Whiteford, Professor at the ANU Crawford School of Public Policy.

Historically, many governments have used government borrowing (bond issuance) to finance free or lower-cost university education. For example, the Menzies government used this approach to fund low-cost higher education for many under the Menzies Government Commonwealth Scholarships scheme, which covered student tuition fees. Eligible students from lower income backgrounds received a means-tested allowance. The Menzies scheme covered up to 80% of students.

Similarly, Gough Whitlam also provided higher education at a much lower cost, albeit for free.Neither approach loaded future generations with the heavy burden of debt. Beneficiaries of both schemes were and are grateful, and Australian society benefited.

The actual finance, at least in the case of Menzies scheme, came from investors. Taxpayers played their role, paying back money to investors. Students had bright prospects. They weren’t burdened by private debt and society flourished.

This may seem unimportant, but spending is vital in any form of consumer transaction. Capitalist economies are predicated on spending, and if there aren’t enough buyers out there, then that spells trouble.

So, while some people clearly fret about paying for others’ debts, the fact is that if others are weighed down by debt, this impacts on their ability to spend in the broader economy. Hence, what goes around comes around.

What programs can be financed?

In this changed employment environment, policymakers need to start looking at feasible alternatives to lengthy degrees. They could devise degrees, so that students spend some semesters doing a paid internship in their field. These internships should be with government departments, agencies, or small/medium-sized firms. Other semesters they could undertake coursework. This would increase the engagement level of students, otherwise distracted by high costs and fees.

In other instances, a better pathway could be short courses or on-the-job training, rather than four-year degrees. Also, many courses now have a shorter shelf-life, according to Kelly Fawcett, Research and Policy Manager at the Foundation for Young Australian’s.

They (the government) also needs to consider financing a similar program for graduates. Either program would help with equity.

The financial advantage of this approach is obvious: students would pay more tax and more GST, and other taxes would flow back to the government.

For each person who secures a graduate position, another 14 people get work, according to Universities Australia. Far from being a burden, university graduates are a great investment!

The future of higher education funding

Commentators, economists, students and some graduates now recognise that existing higher-education funding models are outdated. Recently, some commentators called for a review and a new funding model for courses.

Yet, our policymakers remain stuck in the past. They are reluctant to engage with the idea that education should be free, which is perhaps unsurprising given that policymakers turned the sector into an industry in the ‘80s.

However, there are many benefits to reembracing free higher education. One is the benefit to the public, according to Professor Bill Mitchell. Another tremendous benefit is that, in the workforce of the future, students need the capacity to adapt and change at short notice. On this basis, the current system of training and education may not be fit for purpose, according to the Foundation for Young People.

It’s time to put the needs of students first. It’s time to consider the real needs of employers. It’s time for the government to consider how to reshape education policy to meet the needs of the 21st century.


Politics

Alternative facts: a toxic concept for democracy

Alternative facts: A toxic concept

In a world dominated by headlines, news and opinions, the distinction between facts and ideas can seem passe, but nothing could be further from the truth. Facts underpinned by empirical evidence lay at the basis of a sound democracy. On the other hand, a world awash with competing for evidence-free views risks distorting political discourse, heightening cynicism, leading to an erosion of faith in democracy.

Language’s magnetism partly lies in its fluidity; it’s never static. It is capable of endless variation. Effective use of clarity, simplicity, elegance, and evocativeness, transforms the dreary into the delicious.

Sadly, not all changes to language are wonderful. In 2017, one of the worst additions to the lexicon came into existence, alternative facts. Let’s be clear; facts can be verified by reference to statistical, qualitative data or real-life evidence.

What are opinions?

Opinions are views that might be informed partly by real-life experience. Academic opinion or case studies can also tell them.

But often, they aren’t informed by evidence. In many cases, opinion is mere biases, unverified boiling prejudices or blame-shifting. And yet, at a time when democracy might be under threat by resurgent neo-nazi movements, now more than ever, we need an economic system that supports the aspirations of the people. In a world where many live in so-called democracies but yet is awash with opinions disguised as facts, we risk sliding into authoritarianism. This is because the central linchpin of democracy is facts and evidence, not unsourced speculation.

This problem was mentioned by journalist Chris Hedges in his book “America: The Farewell Tour:”

“The most ominous danger we face comes from the marginalization and destruction of institutions, including the courts… and the press, that once ensured that civil discourse was rooted in reality…”

In other words, the whole basis of a sound democracy rests on distinguishing truth from fiction.

While we all have our views, it’s wrong to see opinion and facts as synonyms. Why? Wrong assumptions may seem innocuous, like dandelions on a lawn. However, allow them to proliferate, and we soon find the garden choking with weeds.

This is even more important in politics, which is a contest of competing ideas. Good ideas are truly the lifeblood of democracy. A political landscape buzzing with well-informed debate is likely to foster a healthy democracy. However, democracy choking with low-quality debate is the path to authoritarianism.

Take the debate over the carbon tax. This tax was weaponised by the former PM, as the villain in the contentious energy debate. It was this carbon tax which was said to be responsible for lumbering consumers with sky-high power prices.

Certainly, the execution of the anti-carbon tax was brilliant, ruthless and unrelenting. It was smoke and mirrors writ large. Sadly, the facts were missing in action, and, long after the carbon tax repeal, power prices remain high.

Instead, the spotlight should have been on Canberra’s tone-deaf privatisation and competition policies. And on the fact that the industry writes the regulations.  And on the fact that companies were allowed to gold-plate the network. And on the fact that price controls were deemed unfashionable but would help provide affordable power. The result: bingo! higher power prices.

But for some journalists seduced by political optics, blood-lust and screaming headlines, the facts came a distant last.

That isn’t to say that drama has no place in journalism – in fact, it’s an essential ingredient. Drama, conflict, storytelling and well-constructed narratives separate prize-winners from journalistic hacks, but drama is different to melodrama. And it does no one any favours to mix these two distinct concepts.

Flesh and blood human tragedies vs. policy tragedies

Professional journalists can demonstrate the drama in the news. They explain implications to readers or viewers. They also provide a historical context where appropriate. This allows readers or viewers to make sense of a complex world. One particularly effective way to do this is for journalists to tell people’s stories so that the public’s brains form links. This is because the human brain is hardwired for storytelling.

It’s easy to see how this can be achieved in crime stories. Take, for example, stories we see on the nightly news, like incidents of motorists ploughing into pedestrians. There are the screaming headlines, the list of victims, and the grieving family. We can never really experience their pain, but we can empathise; everyone sees the pathos in these stories.

However, poor policy formulation is a different story. Its effects are insidious: the unemployed who can’t secure work, the poor person struggling to afford power, or the person whose NBN crawls like a slug. Unless people experience these difficulties themselves, they can be unmoved.

Unlike the nightly stories on the news, someone’s misfortune and poor government policy won’t necessarily make a connection with people’s brains and make them empathetic. This is because the human brain is hardwired to blame victims as we crave predictability.

Further, many people blame victims because they subscribe to the just world theory. This is the idea that good things happen to good people and bad things to bad people. This also stops people from identifying with others’ misfortunes. After all, if they’d made the right choices, everything would have worked out fine, right?

Thus, when a bank victim loses his/her home due to fraud by the bank, unless people hear their stories, some will presume it’s because the borrower committed the fraud or because they lacked financial literacy and due diligence when signing up for his/her loan.

Perhaps these views are unsurprising, given that almost no media coverage explains that since 2001, most home loans have been robot-approved. Think that a real human is assessing whether to grant a loan? Ha, that’s a thing of the past. Think again!

Besides, some people love to turn any misfortune suffered by an adversary into a competition. It’s a testament to the victim’s inadequacy.

Well-known examples are politicians who target welfare recipients. While picking on the vulnerable may be a vote-winner, it also harms democracy because policy is based on community prejudices, not facts. Prejudice of any kind can never form the basis of sound policy-making. Right policy formulation rests on empirically-verifiable facts. Murdoch-style propaganda, not fit to line the bottom of a budgie cage, doesn’t pass the sniff test.

What is the role of politicians in the facts vs. opinion debate?

By contrast, politicians of yesteryears were more focused on real issues. In the 19th century, politicians attended extended town hall meetings, lasting, where they debated issues. Although modern, abbreviated forms of this exist, most people’s knowledge of politics comes via the 24-hour news cycle. Many only see politicians during short grabs on the news. Most people lack the time, interest or possibly expertise to probe further, and their life’s experience provides plenty of evidence that the political system has failed.

This and ingrained family political inclinations, leave voters feeling powerless.  So often, they feel that all they can vote for, the least worst of the duopoly.

What role do voters play in the facts vs. opinion process?

But ultimately politicians, can only spin their narratives if voters accept them. Think some politicians are selling you snake oil? Tell them politely but firmly, why you think they are talking rubbish.

Also, become critical thinkers. Some are already adept at this, but for others looking to improve their skills: how can we tell the difference between facts and fake news?

1. Find out more information about the source.

2. Check for other stories written by that author.

3. Check the links to other news stories. Do they seem legitimate and trustworthy?

4. Check the statements against three different authoritative sources.

5. Is the text well-written? Are there spelling or grammatical errors on the website?

6. Has the story been shared by a credible news organisation? Don’t confine your fact-checking just to the mainstream media; try the independent media for alternative perspectives.

Long-term, we also need to get powerful vested interests out of politics. At the moment, corporate entities and lobbyists have far greater access to politicians and their advisors than politically engaged citizens. So, what hope does the average person have in influencing policy?

Just as we require food, water, oxygen, and other resources to survive, democracy needs facts and empirically-verifiable evidence. At a time when the future of capitalism appears to be cloudy, we need far better processes for democratic decision-making. These processes need to be based on facts, not mere opinions.

Politics

Why Australia needs automatic voter registration.

If Australia has compulsory voting, why are over 628,000 people missing from the electoral roll?

An often- stated fact about Australia is that we have compulsory voting. Sure it’s thanks to compulsory voting that Australia boasts a voter registration of 96.3% of the eligible voting population. Compared to other countries, this figure sounds impressive, until you consider one rarely stated fact – the 628, 547 voters missing from the electoral roll.

So why are so many people missing from the voting rolls?

  • Some voters have never registered;
  • Non-voters who have fallen off the electoral roll due to homelessness or renting;
  • Some people are registered to vote at state but not federal level;
  • Many indigenous Australian’s aren’t registered to vote.

While the Australian Electoral Commission requires all eligible voters to register and vote- there is no automatic process for updating voter details. And  for this reason there is a large hole in Australia’s electoral roll. When people move house, or become homeless they often fall off the electoral roll.

Admittedly, there is some provision in the electoral act for allowing people with no fixed address to vote. But you have to ask: How many homeless people ensure they vote while homeless?

Why does Australia have compulsory voting?
Australia is one a relatively small club of nations that makes voting compulsory. Other countries with compulsory voting are: Brazil, Argentina, Luxembourg, Belgium and others.

We made voting compulsory in 1924 after the disastrously low voter turn out in the 1922 election. The vote at this election was so low that the result had to be called into question.

And although our rate of electoral enrolment and voting is much higher than many other countries, I would argue that Australia doesn’t really have compulsory voting, and that what we have is compulsory attendance at the polling booth if you’re registered to vote.
Younger voters

So let’s look at the three groups of people who, due to their circumstances often aren’t registered and so, don’t vote. First, many young people are still missing from our electoral roll and so don’t vote. While some may assume young people are apathetic, they are in fact the opposite.
There’s a large cohort of young people are agitated on issues of importance. It’s just that many from this age group don’t see their concerns reflected in the national debate. Discussion about house prices, negative gearing, and other topics generally caters to an older demographic. Further, when politicians tour electorates they often don’t talk to the concerns of young people.

And because politicians don’t speak to their concerns young people feel ignored and so don’t register to vote.  And young people prefer direct participation campaigns via social media and the internet.

But ultimately, only young people and the political parties ensure more young people are enrolled to vote. Young people would be a  potent electoral force in a way that Generation X never was because there are so many more Gen Y’s.

But also the onus should be on political parties to speak to the concerns of all Australians, not just older Australians whose life circumstances have been blessed by economic sunshine.

Indeed, many voters (of all ages) often don’t understand what a potent force they really are. Do you want to understand the importance of political engagement?  To understand this, look at the boomers. In the ‘80s the election of the Hawke Government was partly due to changing demographic trends. A driving force behind the electoral change was the then youthful boomers.

Long after the ’80s became fodder for the history books, the boomers have remained a potent electoral force. This potency can be seen from government spending patterns. Of all the age groups, people over 65 command a much higher level of government spending. By contrast, the group with the thinnest slice of government spending is Generation X (1966-1980).

Voters registered at the state level

A second, but even more obscure voting block is the voters registered at state level. These voters are eligible to vote at their state and local government elections, but not at federal elections. There are around 100,000 missing voters in this category.

Thus, for every one of these hundred of thousands of voters, they miss out on getting their say at the federal level. This is a real shame because there are so many decisions made at the national level where the ramifications reverberate for decades.

Renters who have fallen off the electoral roll

A third group who is also a largely invisible group of non-voters: renters. Renters receive little notification from landlords before being asked to move. In NSW, the regular period is 21-days. And amid the busy lifestyles, competing priorities – it’s not hard to see why they often forget to get back on the electoral roll.

Moreover, some people still return their forms in the post, so it takes time for the electoral commission to update their details. And by the time the election is announced it is only a matter of days until the rolls are closed and people are barred from updating their details.  The fastest way to register or get registered is by changing or updating your details online.

Indigenous Australian’s

Although Indigenous Australian’s have had the right to vote for many decades, they continue to have a low voter participation rate.  Figures from the 2016 Federal election suggest that as few as 58% of indigenous Australian’s vote.  Though some sources suggest this figure is overly generous and that the real number is closer to 50% voter registration for indigenous people.

To increase this and to make politicians more responsive to the needs of Indigenous people requires a mass voter recruitment drive.  The best way to do this is via a process of automatic registration. Otherwise, Australian politician’s, mining companies and other interest groups will continue to pay lip service or ride roughshod over Indigenous rights.

Homeless people who have fallen off the electoral roll

Continue reading “Why Australia needs automatic voter registration.”