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The Forum > Article Comments > A tarnished reputation: prisoners and the vote > Comments

A tarnished reputation: prisoners and the vote : Comments

By Debra Parkes, published 18/11/2005

Debra Parkes argues Australia should allow prisoners voting rights.

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My reason for opposing Debra's reasoning in giving the right to vote to prisoners is that they would all vote for bad guys in Australian elections, namely the socialist labor party. I stand in opposition to almost 100% of their policies and I would argue against anyone who would support labor. Rommel
Posted by rommel, Friday, 18 November 2005 11:28:29 AM
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Rommel, that is exactly one of the arguments that was used to deny women the vote "oh, they'll vote labour" when the conservatives were in power "oh they'll vote conservative" when the labour parties were in power.

Who someone will vote for is entirely irrelevant. It is their right, and responsibility, as citizens to vote. Surely in denying a prisoner their liberty, we are doing enough to punish them. Most prisoners re-join society at some point. Taking away their ability to vote and contribute to society in the mean time is hardly assisting them to re-establish a positive relationship with the outside world.
Posted by Laurie, Friday, 18 November 2005 11:44:05 AM
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I reckon if you deny a criminal any right to participate in the society then they have no choice but to continue being a criminal. The road to social redemption might start with a simple vote in an election.
The idea that prisoners will vote for "bad guys" is silly because we all know that an election is a choice between two evils anyway... :)
Posted by Donnie, Friday, 18 November 2005 11:58:04 AM
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with the nom de plume of Rommel,

you must be looking for an argument anyway. As despicable as Nazi Germanies policies were, only Rommel sought to change sides at the end, after having supported the commencement of the war to the full.

There is 300+ persons in jail for breaching corporate law, do you honestly suggest that they would vote labour? as for the others, like the vast majority of Australians at the next election, why shouldn't they vote labour?

Governments must make hay whilst the sun shines, and they seldom (if ever) retain government after using control of the senate to push through legislation which they have no mandate to push (nb Anti-terror/WorkChoices). Like it or lump it, all Australian citizens should have the right to vote, indeed perhaps the major cause of the disenfrachisment of prisoners in Australia is based upon the likelihood that they would choose not to vote (waht would you do, JAIL'em?).
Posted by Aaron, Friday, 18 November 2005 12:55:55 PM
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C'mon All,

We must not forget that the majority of prisoners are not 'lifers' and it is highly likely that these voters will face the 'consequences' of the election on their release. Once they are deemed to have been rehabilitated they are a free person to reintegrate with society.

Why then should they not have a say who is to be elected? What if it were a group in power that wrongfully imprisoned inmates, such as China or South Africa prior to Mandela? Would it be fair and equitable that democratically they had a right to choose their country's destiny, if not for them but for their family?

By saying no, I can understand that inmates should loose rights when incarcerated, but not when the large majority of inmates are released within three years and they were not able to help choose their governement representatives when rehabilitated.

The prison system is not like the movies, and neither are most of the inmates. They are short stays mostly, and they face enough exposure to unfortunate things during their time to mentally separate them from society, without having to unplug them further.

Give them a go, they will become role models for their family if we dont assume they are shot ducks once incarcerated for the first time.
Posted by Realist, Friday, 18 November 2005 1:38:41 PM
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"Surely in denying a prisoner their liberty, we are doing enough to punish them."

Not in all cases.

"Like it or lump it, all Australian citizens should have the right to vote,"

I donít consider murderers and wife-bashers (and other assorted crims) my fellow Australian citizens. Even if removing their right to vote is symbolic, it is powerful. Given the fact that sentences seem to be getting lighter for vicious crimes, itís completely fair to remove the right to vote from anyone serving longer than three years.

Those who serve over three years are not in gaol for petty robbery, or stealing bread to survive- they are there for crimes like manslaughter, (sometimes) assault, rape, and fraud.

"Give them a go" ? Your name is deceiving Realist.
Posted by wrighta, Friday, 18 November 2005 2:12:31 PM
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