Why no-one gives a rat’s about the Federal Election

Confession: I know more names of people running for American President than candidates for Prime Ministership in my own country. Does this make me ignorant? I hope not. It’s not that I’m not aware the election is happening; its a conscious choice to not give a damn (soz Grandpa).

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I know the underlying idea of democracy is for the public to elect a government to represent themselves and their values, but the whole thing seems really pointless. I want to clarify that I’m not complaining about our government, and certainly not its structure, I’m just questioning why I have to care.

It doesn’t matter which party wins. Doesn’t Australian society dislike it’s Prime Minister by automation? Think about it, when was the last time we had a popular PM? They’ll continue the inhumane treatment of asylum seekers offshore (which my generation will be forced to apologise for in several decades’ time), prevent homosexual couples from tying the knot, keep the economy sort-of-okay and life for the average Australian citizen won’t really change all that much. I’m not saying it should, merely I’m questioning the importance of who wins.

I’m not alone in this. 25% of Australians aged between 18 and 24 had not enrolled to vote in 2013, and that number is rising. Why does a quarter of Australian youth not care about electing its government? Professor Tham from the University of Melbourne describes the effect of this as “a serious democratic deficit“. For democratic power to succeed, all people are needed to vote, thus this gap means the entire structure of the Australian parliament is compromised.

What will it take to reignite the spirit of democracy? What will make Australian youth want to participate in elections?

Maybe we need to feel like we are voting for something we believe in. Promise equality for same-sex couples, take steps to fix the asylum process; this is what we want. We need to see big changes in the way OUR country treats people, not be held accountable for electing a government which, in fifty years time, will be held in the same disregard as those who implemented and oversaw the Stolen Generations.

The above video captures Howard’s apology to the stolen generations. Why is history repeating itself?

Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing personal against Turnbull or the opposition guy, I’d just care a lot more about the whole election thing if one or both promised to address the big issues. Obviously Australia has it pretty okay with the whole politics thing; no tyrants, no anarchy, no proven corruption, but still  – equality matters. Fix it!

Who knows, maybe I’d care more about the election if the Turnbull memes were half as dank as the Trump ones.

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To sum up, I would not describe myself as ignorant of politics.  I just don’t see the point of becoming involved. What will I write on that voting paper, you may want to know? I haven’t decided yet. It won’t make a difference to me – I guess I’ll submit a donkey vote (or maybe draw a giant dick over the ballot paper).

Claire.

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