LOCAL GOVERNMENT AMENDMENT (ELECTIONS) BILL 2013 (No. 21)
Mrs ARMITAGE - Like the honourable member for Mersey, I have not voted to go into Committee on this or any other clause. It is a privilege and honour to vote, but when there is compulsory voting, postal voting is a problem because many things can go wrong.
The only way to avoid the problems of postal voting is to have voting by ballot box but that is too expensive for local government.
Votes can go missing from letterboxes. Postal vote forms are all delivered at the same time, so it is easy for unscrupulous people who want to manipulate the vote to take them from letterboxes.
People can move without leaving a forwarding address, so they do not receive their mail.
Recently I had a constituent who was on his honeymoon when he was pulled over by police and found he did not have his licence. He had lost it, although he did not know until then that he had lost it. So he did not have Motor Accident Insurance Board cover.
He had left his address. He had not gotten around to telling someone he was no longer there, so his mail went to the old address and he did not receive it. He was fined but did not get the letter saying he owed this money. His licence was cancelled by the Monetary Penalties Enforcement Services - MPES - without his knowledge. He only found out when the police pulled him over on a random check and asked to see his licence. If he had had a car accident he would have been in a great deal of strife.
Maybe we need to be educating more people how important it is to vote.
People have died for the right to vote and are still dying for the right to vote and for their freedom. In this case, with a postal vote, with so many circumstances that can occur, we should not be pushing for compulsory voting. If you want compulsory voting and we want it to be like federal and state, then go to the ballot box. If we were to do that we would have party politics taking over local council. I cover two councils, Meander Valley and Launceston City Council and Launceston City Council were quite happy to go with anything as long as it was uniform and Meander Valley did not have any great concerns either way. They did not have any firm view on it, but for the people in the community to be fined for not voting for something like a postal vote, there are too many anomalies and I cannot support it.