Senate Occasional Lecture Series

Public lunchtime lectures held at Parliament House in Canberra, on topics related to Parliament and governance. Transcripts, audio and television recordings of past lectures are also available.

Senate occasional lecture series

Compulsory Voting: Effects, Public Acceptance and Democratic Justification

Professor Lisa Hill and Dr Jill Sheppard

Date: Friday 26 July 2019
Time: 12.15pm to 1.15pm
Location: Main Committee Room, Parliament House

Portrait of Professor Lisa Hill
Professor Lisa Hill

Compulsory voting has been a major feature of Australian electoral arrangements for almost a century and it has proved to be a very effective and well-tolerated method for maintaining high voter turnout. What explains the relatively high public acceptance of the practice in this country? And what conditions need to hold for compulsory voting to be an appropriate solution to the problem of low and declining turnout? In this lecture, Professor Hill considers the ethical issues of compulsory voting and whether compulsory voting is an unacceptable violation of democratic values, as is often claimed.

Lisa Hill is a Professor in the Department of Politics and International Relations at the University of Adelaide and a political theorist with a particular interest in electoral studies. She is co-author (with Jason Brennan) of Compulsory Voting: For and Against (Cambridge University Press, 2014).

Portrait of Dr Jill Sheppard
Dr Jill Sheppard

Compulsory voting laws are central to Australia’s political culture. In the past decade, Australians have maintained their professed levels of support for the laws but are turning out to vote in lower numbers. This lecture outlines the administration of compulsory voting in Australia, institutional responses to compulsory voting laws, and public attitudes towards the system.

Jill Shappard is a lecturer in the School of Politics and International Relations at the Australian National University. Her current projects include studies of electoral behaviour and compulsory voting and its effects on voters. Dr Sheppard is an investigator on Australia’s contribution to the Asian Barometer and World Values Survey projects, and the Australian Election Study.

Past lectures


Date Presenter Transcript Type
8/03/2019 Professor Ken Benoit Analysing the Brexit debate through social media: topics, arguments, and attitudes
Video (Parlview)
Audio (MP3)
12/04/2019 Professor Joo-Cheong and Kate Griffiths Electoral campaign financing-two perspectives
Video (Parlview)
Audio (MP3)
7/06/2019 Dr Cathy Foley Why do we fund government research labs? What have they done for us?
Video (Parlview)
Audio (MP3)
5/07/2019 Associate Professor David Karpf Lessons from the first 25 years of the digital revolution in politics
Video (Parlview)
Audio (MP3)


Lecture transcripts, audio and television recordings