THE director of the Edinburgh International Festival has suggested that voting in next year's independence referendum is made compulsory.

Sir Jonathan Mills, who courted controversy when he said that he would not feature any shows in the 2014 international festival which focused on independence, said that he had been inspired by last weekend's Australian General Election.

During a speech at the Scotland Office in London he said that compulsory voting would "strengthen our democracy" and ensure that government takes ordinary citizens "much more seriously".

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He also admitted that his call was "provocative" as he called for the tone of the debate in the run up to the vote to be "generous- spirited, open-minded and respectful".