Why, I wonder, does no one really object to the fact that prisoners in Australian jails cannot vote? I was talking about this to someone the other day and they could see no problem. Yet it worries me.
The right to vote is the most fundamental democratic right, the building block from which our whole structure grows. If the state can take this away, then (or so it seems to me) we have a problem.
My friend simply said that if someone had committed a crime and had been sent to jail then it was right that they lost the right to vote. But where do we draw the line?
To my mind, if the state can take the right away for reason x, then they can also do so for reason y.
The key thing is the principle. The right to vote is either absolute or it is not. If not, then the only thing we are debating is the circumstances in which the right may be taken away. I am sure that Mr Hitler could define many reasons why the right to vote should be limited.
Postscript 16 June
My thanks to people for their comments on this post. I see that Legal Eagle has put up a post linked to this issue that includes a link to the transcript of the High Court Hearings on the matter. It will be interesting to see how the Court rules.