For as long as I can remember, my father would tell me that "to not care about politics is to not care about life". In light of the upcoming election, I have reflected on the amount of people in my age bracket who make a conscious effort to be aware and informed of Australian politics. Unfortunately, I arrived at the conclusion they are few and far between.
I have a number of friends in their late 20s who are still yet to register to vote, simply due to lack of interest and the belief their vote 'doesn't count'. This is an exciting time for the Fleurieu, as prior to last year's by-election Mayo had not been a marginal seat for years. This has ensured an abundance of proposed new funding and upgrades within the electorate in an attempt from various sides of politics to win the people's vote. It is frustrating to think about the 1.4 million people who did not vote in the 2016 Federal election, when citizens in less fortunate countries would be willing to go to extreme lengths to have the same rights we do.
In Australia threats like conflict or famine seem alien and this privileged lifestyle seems to have yielded a generation that views it as the norm, often taking it for granted. After conversation with millennials lacking the motivation to vote, it is clear they either felt that current policies neglected the needs of the youth or didn't affect them.
Countless political issues directly impact younger generations. There are grave potential consequences of oil exploration in the Great Australian Bight, ongoing road congestion,need for renewable energy and patchy NBN and mobile networks to name a few. South Australia was the first state in the country and one of the first in the world to give women the right to vote. Australian suffragettes endured a long and hard fight to win the vote in 1894, facing imprisonment and public ridicule.
It is understandable that grasping the convoluted world of politics can be overwhelming. I think a large portion of non-voters simply don't know what each party stands for and in fairness our leaders tend to change frequently. However, websites like ABC's 'Vote Compass' are helpful, where you are asked a series of questions which align your political views with the most suitable party based on their policies. It is crucial that we take our right to vote seriously, those who have not yet registered have until 8pm tonight to enroll.
- Gabrielle Duykers