Wednesday, July 21, 2010

The Young Voter

It's no surprise to me that we're seeing an old-style, aggressive campaign being run by the ALP & LNP parties, but what I'm concerned about it is how it impacts the young voters out there. The Electoral Roll closed on Monday night, there were still over one million people who missed their chance to vote in the 2010 election. A friend of ours reminded me the other night in his own words, why there is so much disenchantment from young people:
"I think that young people of voting age have just graduated through what Jeremy Griffith's calls 'resignation', or they are still going through the depression that precedes that. Resignation in this context is resigning to life as an adult, blinkered to the anguish and the hatred and the injustice of the world. As young adults they acutely feel the injustice. They ask the hard questions, 'why are we going to a swanky party when people of the world are starving?', 'why do we lock up children and women and men from other countries that we are have invaded when they come for our help?', 'why do I hear you preaching love and support and acceptance, and then I see you doing exactly the opposite?', 'why do you and mum fight so much?', 'why do we trade with china when they oppress one billion of their citizens and kill anyone that protests?', 'why do we allow companies to pay politicians?', 'why do our politicians preach acceptance and trust, then lie and invade?'.
In effect the young can see that the emperor has no clothing, and they do not understand why adults pretend that he does."
It gave me a good dose of reality in a time when so many Candidates take people's votes for granted. So how are the Australian Greens different to the other parties? What is it about our policies that young people can step up and be enthusiastic about?

Firstly, Students. We have seen that too many students are under enormous housing stress and struggle to make ends meet on the current levels of income support. This is why the Greens have a plan to:
  • Increase Youth Allowance to the new rate of Newstart; and
  • Increase the levels of affordable and fair student housing. Here's an article from this week's papers, when Senator Sarah Hanson-Young released our policy.
The Australian Greens also believe that integrity, accountability and openness in politics are vital to a healthy democracy. While there have been some moves to increase scrutiny and set codes of conduct for the activities inherent in the political process, these changes have been predominantly in the form of policy decisions by governments. Recent events demonstrate that voluntary codes of conduct and Government regulation are too easily set aside for the sake of political convenience. The Greens have a legislative package to ensure that key aspects of the political process - independent oversight of the activities of parliamentarians and public servants; the conduct of lobbyists; and spending on government advertising - are enshrined in law and can only be changed with parliamentary approval.

Young people particularly want action when it comes to their future, and there's no bigger issue than climate change. Today, a friend of mine put himself on the line for his and other generations' future by challenging Julia Gillard during her polished Climate policy announcement.
Brad is a young hero, but also a normal young person wanting our so-called 'leaders' to have the courage to take real action on Climate Change. I applaud his bravery, dedication and wisdom in taking direct action in a non-violent way.

The arts, cultural experiences and creative artists are vital to the social wellbeing, economy and cultural life of Australia. The Australian Greens are committed to supporting and promoting Australian artists and their work. Check out our policy released today.

Remember, your vote really does matter.

FICTION: A vote for The Greens is just a vote for Labor

FICTION: If you vote Green, you 'risk' Tony Abbott.

You have the power to decide for yourself who you vote for and in what order you preference candidates. Those How-To-Vote cards that you get at the gates of polling booths are just a guide. So if you really want to exercise your right to a decent democracy, tell those politicians through the power of your pen stroke on election day.

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