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From Secret Ballot to Democracy Sausage


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Alone among English-speaking democracies, Australia compels its citizens to vote . . . It forces politicians to consider the impact of their policies on all groups of Australians, especially the disadvantaged and marginalised, and so contributes to a more equal and just society.

About the Author

Judith Brett is the author of Robert Menzies' Forgotten People and emeritus professor of politics at La Trobe University. The Enigmatic Mr Deakin won the 2018 National Biography Award, and was shortlisted in the NSW Premier's Literary Awards, NSW Premier's History Awards and Queensland Literary Awards.


`Brett's writing is capable of extraordinary clarity, insight and compassion.' * Monthly *
'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.' * Antony Green *
`The Australian way of voting seems - to us - entirely ordinary but, as Judith Brett reveals, it's a singular miracle of innovation of which we can all be fiercely proud. This riveting and deeply researched little book is full of jaw-dropping moments. Like the time that South Australian women accidentally won the right to stand as candidates - an international first. Or the horrifying debates that preceded the Australian parliament's shameful decision to disenfranchise Aborigines in 1902. This is the story of a young democracy that is unique. A thrilling and valuable book.' * Annabel Crabb *
`This book unravels mysteries, and explains the quirks and triumphs of Australia. It answers questions you didn't even know you had. I learned something on every page.' * Waleed Aly *
'A tightly written history of Australia's electoral system... this is a fantastic read for an election year!' * Readings *
'Politics aficionados might find this very readable and informative book hard to put down. The solution is simple: read it in one sitting, as I did.' * Inside Story *

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