Re: Barking @Yet Another Anonymous Coward
The biggest problem with Australia's voting system is not just that it's mandatory, it also uses what are called "preferences". Now, remember you HAVE to vote, and if you don't want to vote for Labor or Liberal, you could vote for a minority party like the Greens, the Sex Party, the Pirate Party, Hemp Party, One Nation and so on. But all of those parties are forced to stipulate "preferences" to other parties.
What this means is that if the candidate (and their party) you voted for doesn't get voted in, that party's votes are forwarded to the "preferred" party of their choice. So, say you vote for the Greens, and they preference Labor, but they don't get in. Then your vote for the Greens gets counted as a vote for Labor, whether you wanted Labor in power or not. You can't choose for your vote not to count at all if your desired party doesn't get in. Ultimately, because Labor and Liberal between then have an absolute oligarchy in this country, everyone is forced, through this system of preferences, to vote for one or the other, regardless of what you actually want.
Even an informal vote (e.g. a blank ballot paper, or one with a penis drawn all over it, or simply turning up and signing your name off and not putting a ballot in at all) is counted as a vote for the incumbent party, so you can't escape voting that way either.
The upshot is, if you live in Australia, you either vote Liberal or Labor, regardless of how much you hate either - or both.