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It’s compulsory to vote in Australia.
We are one of a handful of countries in the world that enforce this rule at election time, and the only English-speaking country that makes its citizens vote.
Not only that, we embrace it. We celebrate compulsory voting with barbeques and cake stalls at polling stations, and election parties that spill over into Sunday morning.
But how did this come to be: when and why was voting in Australia made compulsory? How has this affected our politics? And how else is the way we vote different from other democracies?
Lively and inspiring, From Secret Ballot to Democracy Sausage is a landmark account of the character of Australian democracy by the celebrated historian Judith Brett, the prize-winning biographer of Alfred Deakin.
‘Brett’s writing is capable of extraordinary clarity, insight and compassion.’
‘Australia led the world in broadening the franchise and introducing the secret ballot, but few nations followed us down the path of compulsory voting. This absorbing book explains a century-old institution, how it came to be, and how it survives.’