Social Issues, Change, and Policy (Kim Caldwell)

What if the United States government fined its citizens for not voting? In Australia voting is compulsory! I have heard the word compulsory, many times, since I came to this country. Compulsory means you are obligated to do something. You heard me correctly, all citizens are obligated to vote. If you do not vote, you will be fined for not meeting your civic responsibilities to the state. As soon as I learned this, I began contemplating how much money the U.S. government could make from all the irresponsible citizens.

Often I have heard my fellow citizens claiming that they did not vote, because they did not like any of the candidates running for office. Perhaps, that is one benefit of Australia having at least six major political parties, including the Democrats, Nationals, Liberals, Greens, One Nation, and their oldest, the Australian Labor Party. I think America could benefit from a few new parties, with names like, the Unioners, Blue Collar Nationals, and Average Joe Greens.

On a more serious note, I am in this huge metropolitan city, where I have seen so many people on the streets, pushing initiatives for social and political change. They are educating those who walk by, promoting policies that support global issues of humanity, hunger, and peace. I could not find any statistics on how much money the Australian government collects from the fines they impose, but I have included a URL on the Australian electoral system.

Kim Caldwell is studying abroad at Macquarie University in Sydney, Australia.

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