The innovative “Australian ballot” system was a world-first, introduced by British colonial governments in Tasmania, Victoria and South Australia in 1856, and adopted later by the other colonies, the federated Australia, and many other nations world-wide. The Encyclopaedia Britannica describes this as a “system of voting in which voters mark their choices in privacy on uniform ballots printed and distributed by the government or designate their choices by some other secret means.”
It’s appropriate on Australia Day to celebrate the traditions of government brought to our continent by British settlers from 1788, and to consider participating in the democratic processes that are currently available to us through our paper-based secret ballot system (probably to be wiped away by electronic voting, sooner or later). Here are some suggestions for action you can take this year:
- Send a message to the policy-makers. If you are eligible to vote in any local, state or federal elections or by-elections, write the REDUCE IMMIGRATION slogan in the blank space at the top of your ballot paper. Coming up soon are two by-elections in Queensland for Griffith (federal, 8 February) and Redcliffe (state, 22 February). State elections are scheduled this year in South Australia and Tasmania (both on 15 March) and Victoria (29 November). State elections in future years are listed elsewhere on this website.
- Help promote REDUCE IMMIGRATION. Our printable flyers include a bookmark and a leaflet. Forward, print and distribute these as widely as you can to raise awareness of the campaign to write the REDUCE IMMIGRATION slogan in the blank space at the top of ballot papers.
- Keep up to date on information about the REDUCE IMMIGRATION campaign. Stay in contact with the news we post to our website by typing your email address in the “Follow” box at the lower right corner of your screen. You can also follow us on Twitter and re-tweet our posts.
Happy Australia Day!
Further reading (added 27 August 2016):
Geoffrey Blainey, ‘After the gold rush, the colonial cradle of democracy’, The Australian, 27 August 2016, pp. 20-21. (“19th-century Australian led the way in giving the vote to the people”.)