Why You Need to Enrol to Vote (Grapeshot Magazine; Issue 4 Vol. 8, May 2016 - 'Cacti')
Malcolm Turnbull has officially announced he intends to hold a double-dissolution election on July 2. Now, most of us roll our eyes at even a mention of the world ‘politics’, and in all fairness, it’s kind of understandable. Politicians can often seem out of touch with young adults.
But with an election fast approaching, it’s time to get serious about enrolling to vote. It may surprise you, but our generation is THE sleeping giant of political change, and the reason is because so often a lot of us do not actually sign up to vote.
In the 2013 election, 400,000 people aged between 18-24 (or 1 in 4 of that age group), failed to enroll. Considering that two-thirds of that age cohort surveyed have said that they would support either Labor or the Greens, the actual result of the last election might’ve been vastly different if those people had turned up to vote. So, to put it simply, our political influence is kind of a big deal.
Dr. Arthur Chesterfield-Evans, the Greens candidate for North Sydney and founding member of anti-smoking group BUGA-UP, that the youth vote is the most powerful force in Australian politics.
“Youth would have a great effect on the election result. Look at the voting push for Bernie Sanders in the USA. [Its] much more progressive. Kids have to look to the future- oldies only have to try and maintain their own current status quo. [If more youth could vote] there would be more interest in youth unemployment and intergenerational inequity, and numerically it would counteract the grey vote.”
Voting goes beyond the pure face value of electing a leader, Liberal or Labor. The fact is that both major parties have made changes to issues that young adults care about. These include changes to higher education leading to increasing university expenses, same sex marriage, employment laws and climate change policy.
The reason our generation may seem unwilling to vote, according to Dr. Chesterfield-Evans, is because we ourselves have lost faith in the system.
“It is hard to believe in a system that is manifestly not solving the problems, especially from the [youth] point of view. I think that they need to be persuaded that the only real hope is coordinated action and the political system has to regain its legitimacy as a way of people acting together. While the political system is not the total solution, it is a valid starting point for action.”
The point is, if you don’t sign up, what happens if a party is elected, and they will introduce policies that will directly negatively impact you? If you enroll to vote, you have the power to have a say and affect change!
So, to all those who haven’t enrolled, know this: you have the power to change our future. It’s time for our generation to wake up, and be the giant political force we were born to be.
Signing up is not an automatic process. But it’s easy. Get out your laptop/ tablet/ phone and head to: