World Vision

World Vision Australia's youth movement

Why Your Vote Matters

July 1, 2016 By vgen

Our generation has copped a fair bit of criticism, ranging from being too entitled,

to being selfish and lazy. Of course, this far from the truth – students are facing

tougher challenges and working harder than previous generations. There’s good

reason for us to say that it’s tough being a millennial.

 

Now, ahead of the 2016 Federal Election, we’re criticised for being politically

disengaged. Being a part of VGen, I was quick at first to defend us millennials –

we’re extremely vocal about the issues we care about.

However, statistics have backed up the fact that we’ve been drastically

underrepresented in the voting space. Shockingly, nearly half of all 18-year- olds

were not enrolled to vote when the Federal Election was announced earlier this

year.

 

There are many explanations for this, but some of the reasons for young people

not voting or not voting properly are that:

 we lack confidence in our understanding of politics,

 we feel powerless about the democratic process,

 we feel that no party truly represents our values.

After a number of awareness campaigns encouraging young Aussies to enrol,

there are now 1.66 million voters under 25 enrolled to vote in the Federal

Election – a record number!

 

Here’s the thing: regardless of how much you feel you know or don’t know, your

voice matters. Your vote matters. While we all don’t have degrees in politics, we

can definitely educate ourselves on the decision we get to make in the polling

booth. Watch and listen to what your politicians have to say and know where

they stand on issues that matter to you. Speak to your friends and your

workmates. Do some research – listen to the opinions of thought leaders; browse

the websites of the political parties or check their Facebook and Twitter

accounts. It’s easier than ever before to see what our pollies are up to.

 

So, if you haven’t made up your mind on what party to vote for (like 60% of us),

start with Google. Check out some of the great tools like Vote Compass that help

you figure out what party best represents your views. Don’t just limit your

knowledge to the political ads you’ve seen on TV and online. And if you see those

local MPs handing out flyers on the street, don’t just take a flyer and walk off –

throw questions their way!

 

On the other hand, if you feel powerless about the democratic process, you

should know this: millennials make up almost 20% of eligible voters. If we were

all apathetic, Australia would lose one fifth of its voice.

 

What if no political party addresses your concerns? Make it known to them.

Write to your local MP, start a petition, or simply send them a Tweet. Politicians

are supposed to represent our values; let them know what you support and the

changes you want to see.

 

So get out there on July 2 and make your voice heard. The people we elect help to

shape the country and world we inherit. Your vote matters.

 

References:

http://theconversation.com/many-young- people-arent- enrolled-to- vote-but-

are-we- asking-them- the-wrong- question-59248

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-06- 19/election-2016- young-victorians-

speak-up- about-issues/7523656

http://www.smh.com.au/comment/young-voters- should-form- their-own- party-

20160613-gpi5ox.html

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