Every week during this election campaign I will be presenting a series called – Voting 101. This is to inform the students of UC about the impending ballot.
The deadline for enrolling to vote with Australia Electoral Commission is fast approaching, you need to enroll before Monday May 23 at 8pm.
Now you may think why bother? You are already disillusioned with politics, you think the major parties are both the same and it is not as if politicians have done anything to benefit you.
If only there was a way you could make an impact on Australia’s political landscape?
What if I told you, you can with your vote.
The old adage for democracy is ‘one person, one vote’, and your vote does actually have the potential to make a difference.
It is estimated – from those eligible – that close to one million people have not enrolled to vote in Australia. Of those one million, 380,000 are in the age bracket of 18-25.
If every single one of these people ceased the opportunity to have their ‘one vote’, it could make a significant difference to the outcome of this campaign. On average, the difference in results between the two major parties – after preferences – is roughly between four and five per cent.
If the polls are anything to go by, this election could be incredibly close.
Only about 11 per cent of the world’s population live in full democracies, meaning that 89 per cent of people’s ‘one vote’ may not apply. Voting is simply something we cannot take for granted.
A complete disillusionment with politics is dangerous – you do not have to necessarily like politics but every three years you should ensure you place that piece of paper in the ballot box.
In Australia, from the events of previous years one may think that it is pointless voting as leadership spills in our country appear to have become the norm. Why bother when the leader we elect is merely going to be thrown out?
Well here is a lesson in Australian democracy, you are not actually voting for the leader – you vote for your local representative in the party which of your choice. The party with the majority local members then governs the country for the next three years, this is supposed to be a representation of Australian society, hence the ‘House of Representatives’.
Contrary to popular belief, the leader of the party cannot create drastic change, they are bound by their party. One needs to only look at Malcolm Turnbull – who was known as the progressive of the Liberals – to see the influence of the party as a whole. Since coming to power, Turnbull has not been able to enact on policies which he believes in, the prime example being gay marriage where he has been forced to tow the party line on holding a plebiscite. This is most likely due to deals he made when seeking power.
Of course, if Turnbull wins the election for the Liberals this may give him the mandate necessary to implement his policies.
So if you are a part of the one million whom have not yet enrolled to vote, do so now. Your vote counts.
If this is not enough to motivate you to enroll, would saving $170 be enough? That is the fine you receive for not voting, and personally I would rather spend that on thirty-four coffees.