angmoh

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Swiss Political System: More than You ever Wanted to Know (I.)

Thanks for the article - very informative and exactly the kind of content I enjoy!

In 2017 Australia held a public survey on whether same-sex marriage should be allowed, the results of which were pledged informally to be enacted by the government. Public votes on specific issues are relatively rare in Australia, so the debate around the procedural merits of voting on this particular issue were quite active.

I recall the main arguments against conducting a survey were mostly procedural criticisms, that it is wastefully expensive to hold a postal survey when public polling had revealed consistent majority support for same sex marriage for a number of years already. Wikipedia tells me the survey cost $80m AUD, so I wonder how much this Swiss system costs over the long haul?

The arguments in favour were mostly that it would break political and procedural gridlock over the issue and settle things once and for all with the legitimising stamp of direct democracy.

In the aftermath I found myself thinking 'we should do this more often' - so it's nice to see that somewhere in fact does do it more often!


PS: It's interesting to see the high rejection rate for referendums in Switzerland. The same-sex marriage survey was in fact suggested by the centre-right party who were historically opposed to same-sex marriage, and it's generally accepted that they viewed the direct (voluntary) vote as the best chance to get a 'no' or ambiguous result on this matter and introduce a long-term mandate against legalising same-sex marriage.