There’s no better case for Australia’s compulsory voting system than the current wave of voter suppression laws sweeping the United States.
In the late 1800s, after African Americans were given the vote, Southern states made it a requirement that voters pass a literacy test and pay a fee to vote. It took the Supreme Court until 1966 to rule these methods of voter suppression unconstitutional.
This year, in this election, Americans in 32 of 50 states will be required to present identification in order to vote. They will be required to show photo ID in 17 states, including the crucial swing states of Michigan, Pennsylvania, Florida and New Hampshire.
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The Democratic National Convention in North Carolina this month could teach Labor what a progressive political party actually looks like.
On key progressive causes – such as rights for same-sex couples, skewing taxes towards those that can afford it, and fair treatment of refugees – Labor doesn’t have a proud track record.
Hell, they don’t even have a consistent one.
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Political parties with more than 500 members include the Australian Sex Party, the HEMP Party, the Shooters and Fishers Party, and the Communists.
Family First could probably muster 500 members from a single mega-church.
But the Australian Democrats, once the third force in Australian politics, are being threatened with deregistration because the Australian Electoral Commission says its national membership has fallen below the 500 threshold.
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You may not have time to watch this whole interview between Jon Stewart and Bill O’Reilly but it’s worth a look if you get the chance.
Whether you’re actually interested in US politics or media or not, it’s a fascinating and civil exchange between two men who are arguably the two most influential commentators in America (assuming you take Oprah out of the equation).
One is a political satirist turned sometime serious political commentator and the other is political commentator who sometimes sounds pretty funny.
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Barack Obama craves a historic presidency. Witness his pledge to single-handedly rescue the US health system in which millions lack insurance coverage. “I am not the first president to take up this cause, but I am determined to be the last,” he announced in September.
Now, following a crucial Christmas Eve vote in the US Senate, the Democratic-controlled Congress is about to approve a major healthcare package.
Hurdles remain: the two houses must still confer to iron out differences. Public financing of abortion remains a flashpoint. But the near-certain outcome, sometime in January, is a bill on the president’s desk.
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This poster depicting Barack Obama as the Dark Knight Joker is currently causing a stir in America and the rest of the world.
Debate on the subject has been raging online and in papers on what the poster means, from those claiming it shows a backlash against Barack Obama to arguments that it is a popularised racist attack on the President.
But perhaps what is most interesting about the poster is that we’re even surprised that people are now openly mocking the American President. The debate itself is probably an indication of how incredibly popular Obama still is.
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