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The average no-voter

By Tracie Aylmer

We all wonder how some people in Australia have no consideration for politics whatsoever. They refuse to want to talk about politics, nor of elections for which they either donkey vote or not vote at all. We try to figure out how they can act the way they do – refusing to have a voice and turning away from anything relating to having any kind of thought of a voice.

These people complain bitterly about their lot in life. They are very lowly paid. They have too much tax taken out of their pay, and refuse to wonder why. In fact, they are underpaid. Yet, politically at least, they still refuse to do anything about it.

Trying to have a conversation with these people is like having wisdom teeth pulled by surgery – very painful. Even when it concerns them directly, they find a way to believe that it wouldn’t concern them at all.

These are the types of voters that got us all into this mess.

I have a lived experience of these people. Trust me when I say that they complain ALL THE TIME! They hate the country as it is. When I try to explain that they should do something, if only for themselves, they find excuses not to. They are considerably lazy when dealing about the things that actually matter to them.

They know there is inequality, but refuse to act upon it. They know women are paid much lower than men, but still refuse to act upon it. They refuse to add any kind of voice, drifting into each day as if it’s the only thing that matters in the whole world.

Some suffer from depression, and whilst they know that services are now grossly lacking, they refuse to think that they could actually be part of the problem by not bothering to advocate for action, on polling day at least. This isn’t a case of them not having knowledge. They know what’s going on. They are very aware of what’s happening around them. But still, they want no part of any kind of solution to bring Australia into the kind of society that could, in fact, help them directly.

These are the types of bogans we all have to deal with, particularly at the polls. This is why corruption within politics exists – because these types of bogans vote deliberately inconsistently with their complaints.

And we all have to deal with them, in their choices, with who becomes our Prime Minister.


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  1. Backyard Bob

    Yeah, bogans, ‘n’ stuff. Gotta hate those bogans ‘n’ stuff. Gotta hate how they don’t vote with their inconsistent votes. I know, coz they’re part of my lived experience. I know, because I tried one of those non-lived experiences, and it was weirdo screwed up, man.

    And those dumb bastards who can’t make a choice because they suffer from depression! Hell, don’t get me started or I’ll write some piece of crap for a political blog!

  2. wam

    wow a great read!!!!!
    The effort to get a complainant to look at the politics of their situation is excruciatingly painful and fraught with danger in that one party line and you can hear the mind snap shut,
    white and green is hardly enough for a curple
    so add the power with the colour.
    ( It is so sad girls to see the boys half empty?)

  3. Athena

    I hate corruption in politics and I’ve voted at every election since I was old enough to vote. I’m 50 years old and there is still corruption in politics. Who should I vote for to stop the corruption in politics? This is why some people don’t vote. The complaint I hear most often is that the outcome is the same whether they vote or not, and regardless of which party they vote for.

  4. Darrell

    I’ve been a low income earner all my life and up until the Abbot experience have had very little interest in politics at all so I think that I might qualify as one of your disinterested bogans. Try working for self-interested pricks who disregard and devalue any input that you contribute as well as witnessing the implementing of policies that continually favour other sections of the community whose lifestyles are so far removed and eclipse your own experiences. Can be quite an effort to give a shit. I guess a life of insignificance can make you jaded and cynical.
    For the record and with just a touch of irony, had never been unemployed until after I completed my university degree at 48 years of age. I now work as a semi-skilled labourer but you can bet I will be adding my voice to the discontented throngs that stand up together to throw this pack of lying, incompetent buffoons out of office.
    PS…Have been reading AIMN for the last two years so education can’t be a bad thing…. should be more of it.

  5. Douglas Evans

    Don’t see the point of this rant. Unless it is the implicit ‘thank God we’re all better than this’! I’ve door knocked and handed out How to Vote cards in a hand-full of State and Federal campaigns and I’ve struck plenty of angry misunderstanding and resigned apathy. Rather than the personal shortcomings of individuals this is generated by the understanding/belief that:
    No matter who you vote for the outcome is a politician (undeniable).
    Politicians are self interested and untrustworthy (understandable given the ongoing litany of lies, rorts, borderline corruption and screw ups perpetrated by both Coalition and Labor politicians).
    I am a victim, rather than a benefactor of the political process. (understandable given steadily increasing inequality promoted by neo-liberal economic and (free) trade policies of both Coalition and ALP).
    These conditions promote on the one hand the vote wasting that the author seems to be upset about but on the other (and more worrying to me) increasing numbers of, mostly young, voters remaining outside the political system and not voting at all. This is a tragedy for the progressive side of politics which would largely attract the votes of these people if they engaged.

  6. Klaus

    I believe there is some truth in the article. However, the words chosen don’t sit comfortable with me. Believe it or not, Australia has an underlying poverty and education problem. When you haven’t been taught to get dressed properly before you go to school, when your parents haven’t done everything to keep you in school, then you may be disadvantaged. When your parents gave jack shit about politics, you have been disadvantaged. Instead of complaining about the complainers, a bit of patience, persistence and real life examples may work a hell of a lot better.
    How many so called average voters are there in Australia? 80%? What is average? Shame on AIM, this article belongs to Rupert. Who allows this stuff to be written (here of all places).
    I don’t like the way it is written.

  7. cornlegend

    Dougy Evans, long time no see, :-}
    Mark this down in the books , we agree ! {well, generally }
    I get sick to death of this “blame it on the uneducated, they have to be bogans, and have no clue” rubbish
    Where is you facts , evidence, anything ?
    The whole history of struggle and gains has been lead by this “uneducated , lowly paid”
    Eureka was a bunch of Irish /pommie immigrants and their Aussie born kin fighting under the Southern Cross.
    Fair to say they were uneducated, underpaid, and exploited,
    Those who met under the “Tree of Knowledge to establish Labor, shearers, drovers etc fit the uneducated low paid as well ,
    The fights of the Menzies era,” Reds under the beds” was lead by casual and unemployed, again lo paid and poorly educated
    Then we had Chifley “his mother Mary had worked as a domestic servant for the Good Samaritan Sisters. His paternal forebears were also from Ireland and belonged to the class of ‘literate small farmers and cottiers .”
    And the architect of the single mothers pension and Medibank, Bill Hayden an ex copper , and the real instigators of the first Green movement Mundey Pringle and Owens of the “Green Bans” all builders labourers, who changed the way development was handled and on an on it goes .
    These and other elected politicians who brought about change, such as the strong militant area of Melbourne, Newcastle/Hunter,
    Illawarra and Western Sydney all had their solid support base, in no small part , ably assisted by the 100,000s of low/no educated immigrants brought to the country as factory fodder for the cane fields, Steel mills and mines.
    It was ALWAYS the unions representing the lower educated, lower paid that lead the struggled that have brought about the working conditions, and social change most now take for granted
    I talk to lots of people and my interpretation of those not voting are the educate under 30s , and the middle/up middle class who. don’t think there will be major effect {TO THEM } no matter who governs
    The facts are, that the groups you are associating thes alleged “bogans” with and they are a minority, are lead by highly educated leaders, {like ALA}
    Could the author tell me ONE significant policy a Conservative Government has ever implemented to take into account the health and wellbeing of the working class,
    Everything, from pensions, unemployment, Medicare, education, working conditions has had it roots and beginnings from the very people you ostracise.
    I think maybe, we need some of these “low paid uneducated” elected to lead us
    Chifley the train driver, Rex Connor the car sales man, Bill Hayden the cop, John Kerin the chook farmer,Keating, a 15 year old drop put working for an electric company etc
    Now, the Majority of Parliament is made up of Lawyers and Doctors {the Educated }
    Jack Mundey of the BLF introduced a policy way back in the Green ban days where, after serving a term as a paid Organisor ,you couldn’t be re elected. you had to go back on the job and “remember where you came from and see the fight from the workers perspective”
    Maybe it is time we stopped blaming the poor old worker {the uneducated, lowly paid } and instead, empowering them
    and bringing in the Jack Mundey principle for elected politicians

    End of rant, but it PISSES ME OFF !!

  8. jimhaz

    The decline in newspaper reading is probably exacerbating the apathy problem.

    Sure people can read them online, but what I see is people using their mobile phones for other forms of entertainment, not reading news in depth. Nowadays it has to be quick and easy, which often means trivial.

    In a way maybe that is why the Tele is so rampantly right wing these days – they write in a way to make people have emotional reactions rather than reasoned ones – it is still entertainment.

    Hopefully folks will get eventually tired of all trivial stuff and turn to looking at issues in more depth.

    Deboganisation is one of my greatest desires for Australia, but when business has total priority over progressive and holistic social policies, and while every time an LNP government is put in power we regress to more reptilian thinking, improvement is unlikely. We’d need things like a doubling of manufacturing, lower immigration, shifting funds from private to public schools, a flatter wealth hierarchy, beautification of low income suburbs, decriminalisation of common use drugs, poker machine limitations, public transport improvements, jails geared to rehabilitation with post jail work programs, a rejigging of education systems to teach thinking and philosophy etc.

  9. Backyard Bob


    I strongly suggest you read the article again. As questionable as I find it to be, I think you have misunderstood it. You are talking about lowly paid and poorly educated folk who, despite those disadvantages, nevertheless went out and did something about it. The author is explicitly speaking about such people who constantly complain about their lot in life but do nothing about it.

    Could the author tell me ONE significant policy a Conservative Government has ever implemented to take into account the health and wellbeing of the working class

    Not sure why you would ask this question of the author when they are self-evidently not a conservative.

  10. cornlegend

    “The author is explicitly speaking about such people who constantly complain about their lot in life but do nothing about it.”

    I mix with them every day and rarely find that
    I find the greatest whingers are those doing alright but not happy with the modest house, or the average post code but see themselves mre at home with that next lot up the ladder
    I find more on social media doing what the author complains of, and very little around work sites, Trades Hall, or life in general
    Guess I mix in the wrong circles

    “These people complain bitterly about their lot in life. They are very lowly paid. They have too much tax taken out of their pay, and refuse to wonder why. In fact, they are underpaid. Yet, politically at least, they still refuse to do anything about it.”

    If that is not the greatest generalisation, I’ll go to buggery

  11. Athena

    All relevant points, Cornlegend. I also agree that I hear a lot of whinging about governments from people who are not living in poverty, but rather are never satisfied with what they have.

    The book “Affluenza” by Clive Hamilton and Richard Denniss refers to surveys showing that the more money people have, the more they think they need for “necessities”. They have a big problem determining the difference between needs and wants.

    Conservatives have also successfully perpetuated a myth and I saw Michaelia Cash doing it again just recently, and that is, if you want to get anywhere in life you have to work hard. If you’re poor, it’s your own fault. Surprisingly a lot of poor people actually believe this and presumably vote for conservatives because they have hopes, albeit unrealistic ones, of breaking through the barriers one day. A person who struggles to find employment for their lack of education is not to blame for that. For some reason, their parents did not or could not educate them. It could be a lack of money, lack of parental education, sickness, learning disability (possibly undiagnosed as many were in years gone by), loss of parents, or something else. We also know that just awarding a scholarship for a poor person to go to university doesn’t work. Most of them drop out because without that foundation of early education, they are unable to cope with higher education. It’s a very complex problem and needs a multi-faceted approach to address it.

  12. king1394

    Small business owners are in my opinion some of the worst examples of the type of people who are full of complaints and also very ignorant about politics. Nothing must get in the way of their right to make money from their dreary little enterprises, and that includes the obligation to actually vote. These are the people who attack you as a booth or party worker for being a waste of space.
    I dislike the use of the word bogan and the implication that the poor are neither intelligent nor politically active. But I think the people who became known as “Howard’s Battlers” were a perfect example of ignorance and self-interest.
    But to get away from this criticism, I think it would be more important to identify why up to 10% of voters are so alienated that they will not or can not cast a legitimate vote

  13. win jeavons

    Some of these non-voters are mentally lazy; Their excuse “all politicians are corrupt” ; with a little effort one can distinguish the corrupt from the rest ; they never risk their donations from those with profits to make from destructive enterprises , such as coal mines, financial businesses…

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