Down Under View of U.S. Elections

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Australia's Louise Petschler happened to be in the U.S. during the recent elections as part of a presentation to a group of credit unions. That experience was quite interesting, she said, sharing a couple of contrasts to how voting in Australia differs from voting in the United States.

Petschler noted that in Australia voting is compulsory; those who don't vote but are eligible are fined. "That forces (politicians) to the center, because they don't have to worry about getting out the vote," she observed.

Following the presidential election, there were the inevitable announcements, as there are after every election, from people so upset they swear they're moving to another country. That included one Tweet from a young woman who said she's moving to "Australia, because their president is a Christian and actually supports what he says."

Petschler and many, many others were somewhat amused by that threat, noting, "We don't have a president, we have a prime minister. And she's a woman who's an atheist who lives with a man to whom she's not married."

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