In conversation with Judith Brett


Award winning author Judith Brett will be in conversation with Andrew Leigh on Judith's new book, From Secret Ballot to Democracy Sausage, a landmark account of the character of Australian democracy.

It's compulsory to vote in Australia. We are one of a handful of countries in the world that enforce this rule at election time, and the only English-speaking country that makes its citizens vote. Not only that, we embrace it. But how did this come to be? When and why did we begin making Australians vote? What effect has it had on our political parties, our voting systems, our participation in elections? And how else is the way we vote different from other English-speaking democracies?

"Australia led the world in broadening the franchise and introducing the secret ballot, but few nations followed us down the path of compulsory voting. This absorbing book explains a century-old institution, how it came to be, and how it survives." Antony Green

Judith Brett is Emeritus Professor of Politics at La Trobe University and a Fellow of the Australian Academy of the Social Sciences. She is the author The Enigmatic Mr Deakin, which won the 2018 National Biography Award and was shortlisted in the NSW Premier's Literary Awards, NSW Premier's History Awards and Queensland Literary Awards. Judith is also the author of Australian Liberals and the Moral Middle Class and Robert Menzies' Forgotten People.

Dr Andrew Leigh MP is the Shadow Assistant Treasurer and Federal Member for Fenner in the ACT. He holds a PhD in public policy from Harvard, having graduated from the University of Sydney with first class honours in Law and Arts.

The vote of thanks will be given by Dr Jill Shepherd ANU School of Politics and International Relations.

Pre-event book signings will be available from 5.30pm and again after the event. This event is in association with Harry Hartog Bookshop and books will be available to purchase. Bar and restaurant facilities are also available in the new Kambri precinct.