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Young voters want structural change locally and abroad

By Callen Sorensen–Karklis

Its election time again, time to choose which people we want to represent us in the Parliament.

A time to pick something new or kick out the old, but do we really choose something new when things seem to change?

A key issue has been the youth turnout during recent years at elections. Almost 400,000 young people nationwide aged between 18 to 25 are missing from the electoral roll according to the AEC. That includes half our 18 year-olds and a quarter of our 19 year-olds.

Many paint the negative picture being today’s youth being ill-informed, inexperienced, and ignorant in today’s world.

As a young person who is both community and politically involved I’m here to tell everybody that the punters saying this are dead set wrong.

Young people today are taken for granted. How can we expect people in this demographic to roll out for uninspiring leadership in candidates that push for the fair go that made this country so great once?

Yes, a great deal of us young people care about climate change action, same-sex marriage, Indigenous rights, refugees, but we do also care greatly about our education, the nation’s health system, jobs, the economy and most importantly the democracy of this nation.

How can we expect younger voters to vote for something they think is broken or barely functioning? If the major parties stopped turfing out their leaders through revolving doors, chose articulate candidates set aside from the average career politician, introduced some sense of stability and increased everybody having more of a say in their party structures on policy and candidate selection, or heaven forbid, choosing an independent candidate for a change with some guts we might start to see an increase in younger voters.

I call on all Bowman candidates (my electorate) at this year’s 2016 federal election to listen carefully the youth of today who feel marginalized by endless media cycles of cynicism, political corruption, lacklustre, unimaginative budgets, and their blinker styled institutionalised leadership looking backwards instead of forward to tomorrow.

AEC says enrol by 23 May

The Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) says you are eligible to enrol if you:

  • are an Australian citizen, or eligible British subject,
  • aged 18 years and over, and
  • have lived at your address for at least one month.

If you are 16 or 17 you can enrol now so when you turn 18 you’ll be able to vote.

This article was originally published on Redlands 2030.

 

7 comments

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  1. Andreas

    Hi Callen,

    I am 69 and I say: Don’t give up! We all know of and experience shit every day, you might be surprised at the level of us “Oldies” supporting you in fighting your courses (we were younger once and fought the same!). Just look at who your real enemies are and give ’em HELL!

  2. Jack Russell

    I also want the things I had when I was young for the young of today, now and into the future, and my vote is going toward that goal.

  3. Andreas

    EDIT: should have read “for your causes”. Sorry, getting old…

  4. kerri

    One of the most common replies I get when I mention politics (and yes I am, and will be, obsessed until this country gets back on a decent course) is “Oh! But I’m not interested in politics!”
    I hear it from the old and young alike. But with all due respect, I have two kids 21 and 23. They have very little interest in politics. Of course when I point out the inequities. Citing Panama Papers, Duncan Storrar, CSIRO, Uni fees, doctor co-payments, privatisaion etc they get it, but that didn’t stop one of them donkey voting to help Abbott in 2013!
    For the life of me I cannot understand political complacency in the current atmosphere ?
    We have a set of idealogues doing their best to destroy everything that made this nation great!
    I hope you are right about the passion of the youth vote, but from where I sit, that is not what I am seeing.
    As I keep saying to my two, my life is almost over. I will be secure until I die. I want for nothing but if today’s youth want a qualification and an income that will allow them to pay off an extraordinarily expensive HECS debt at the same time as buying a ridiculously expensive house and having children whilst being unable to afford the childcare you need because you will have to work until you are 70 to pay off your debts, then by all means don’t be interested in politics.
    This country has laboured for way too long under the lies and complacency of the Howard/Costello years.
    We have swallowed the Kool Aid (well not me) in the belief they were doing the best for ALL of us whilst the benefits of the mining boom were frankly pissed up against the wall.
    As Gough said “It’s Time!”
    I hope to convince both my parents and my kids that it is well past time.

  5. Andreas Bimba

    “For the life of me I cannot understand political complacency in the current atmosphere ?
    We have a set of ideologues doing their best to destroy everything that made this nation great!”

    Kerri, your entire comment was a really good one and Callen some of my observations below may help the plight of Australia’s young people and please may many more young people become politically active in a positive way.

    After my parents separated in the late 1960’s my mum got a job as an office clerk and was still able to get a mortgage sufficient to buy a house. All of my education was free apart from books, uniforms and union fees for university. Upon graduation I got a job almost straight away but unemployment in the mid 1980’s was already too high but the unemployment situation now is far worse and the statistics grossly understate the true level.

    Young people today face a much grimmer world than I initially faced. The cost of education has greatly increased and so has the competition level for education places. Unemployment levels are much worse, the Commonwealth Employment Service actually helped people to find work, unions are now much weaker, the proportion of part time and insecure jobs is now much higher and those working at the bottom end of the pay scale are generally treated more unjustly than in the past. The number of job intern/traineeship and apprenticeship positions is now far lower. Competing for work with grossly underpaid foreign nationals, for example those that now enter using the 457 visa, just never happened before. The cost of living has increased significantly more than wage levels especially for those at the low paid end of the job market. Housing prices have increased enormously due to deliberate government policy such as negative gearing, low capital gains taxes and not preventing property purchases by foreign nationals, which has been driven by vested interests in the banking and real estate industries.

    This deterioration of living conditions for most of us, but especially for the young, is not due to more adverse conditions faced by our nation but is due to deliberate and inept policy actions by our governments, both Conservative and Labor, business leadership and other vested interests. MOST OF THE NEGATIVES WE HAVE FACED WERE AVOIDABLE. For example there is no reason Australia could not now have full employment and have had it for the last 40 years. Unemployment was near zero for the 30 year post war period.

    The Modern Monetary Theory economists have proven that with the Federal Government consistently running a deficit (but not too high so as to produce excessive inflation) and offering a job guarantee scheme, our involuntary unemployment level can be near to zero. This approach is also good for business as it increases consumption and production capacity and is also good for the well being of the population as a whole but general ignorance and opposition by a small minority that profit from our current monetarist or neo-liberal approach have prevented its implementation.

    The main reason given to oppose ongoing deficit spending is the claim that the Federal Governments debt level will become too large and the interest bill for that will become crippling. As the currency issuer our Federal Government can just create the money to fund any deficits and even incur no interest expense if it so chose. Currently treasury bonds are issued to fund deficits and these are paid back with interest but a more rational approach is just to electronically create the money to pay for the deficits which is indeed money out of thin air. An estimate of the size of an ongoing stimulatory deficit could be about 5% of GDP which is about $80 billion p.a. which compares to the current 2015-16 budget deficit of $38.6 billion.

    Economics on their own are not enough to bring our economy on track and issues such innovation, education, industrial policy, the need for some trade protection and government and private sector R&D are also vital.

    A good article on the destructive economic ideology of neo-liberalism was written recently by George Monbiot:

    http://www.theguardian.com/books/2016/apr/15/neoliberalism-ideology-problem-george-monbiot?CMP=share_btn_tw

    This video by MMT economist Steven Hail is well worth viewing (~1 ½ hrs.):

    This video by Professor Goran Roos can get you started on industrial policy (~40min.):

    This short article by Craig Milne of the Australian Productivity Council describes the benefits and costs of trade liberalisation in Australia:

    http://www.apcouncil.com.au/Trade%20liberalisation%20piece.docx

  6. David

    I empathise with the younger generation and share their concerns. The Australia I grew up in the 50’s and 60’s has gone. Finally I worked out that no matter which party we voted for, the agenda was basically the same. Just different winners and losers. Our leaders are acting as agents for the Money System, and no longer make decisions in the best interests of the nation. We can start with the NBN, the wasted opportunities with the mining booms, the lack of vision for Australia in the 21st century. Our leaders are no longer statesmen, but chosen for their allegiance to the “System” and maintenance of the “status quo”. We have witnessed the greatest transfer of wealth to the 1%, and now even that is being eroded. We can afford to buy F18’s, F35’s, new submarines and send more soldiers off to fight in foreign wars. One has to question how all this expenditure is reducing the migration of asylum seekers and embedded terrorists? Then we have Murdoch, Abbott and the other lackeys telling everyone “they are coming after you! be afraid, very afraid!” If people turn off, opt out or try to ignore the pantomime, the system imposes fines, penalties and restrictions. I wonder how much more of this rubbish we will endure before the population says “enough is enough”?

  7. corvus boreus

    kerri,
    Did your offspring truly vote ‘dutiful donkey’ (an autopilot ballot; starting 1 at the top, then sequentially down through the numbers, a mindless choice but still electorally valid), or did they vote ‘rebellious informal’ (eg blank sheet, scribbled profanity or other invalid marking ie; a ‘no vote’)?
    The two terms are often confused.

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