The writs have been issued, the stage has been set: Australians are about to go to an election. You can almost smell the sausages sizzling at local primary schools and scout halls, and it’s only a matter of time until the how-to-vote cards start to make their way into our hands and letterboxes.
When we talk about the fundamental elements of representative democracy, we tend to defer to grand themes such as accessibility, representation, prevention against corruption, and equality. But democracy in Australia (and in other parts of the world) is as much about where we vote, when we vote and how long we have to vote as those more lofty concepts.
And what about that humble sausage in bread?
William Isdale speaks with professor Graeme Orr about the festival of elections, the heritage of voting in Australia and what might be lost in the culture of our democracy if we are all able to vote securely from our mobile phones at some stage in the near future.
Orr’s book, Ritual and Rhythm in Electoral Systems, is out now.
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