Really? I had no idea. So how does this work? Is there a name-to-vote tally, so that if you don't log a vote, there's an actual penalty involved? What does that mean for privacy of your vote? Any Australian FReepers out there who can shed some light on this?
They get fined. When I was stationed in Australia 30 years ago, it was a ten dollar fine if you didn’t vote.
You have to register before they know you exist. Once registered you are required to keep your address updated.
On Election day you turn up at your local polling place and show ID, and the poll worker crosses your name out of a big book and gives you a ballot.
At the end of the day, anyone whose name has not been crossed out gets a $20 fine, unless they can give a reason they didn’t vote.
It leads to comedy pieces like this, from a program called The Chaser. (Language Warning.)
Australia has had some form of it for 100 years now.