Just Gimme Dem Digits

Numbers. That’s literally all it is. When you vote you just need to write numbers in a box. A lot of people don’t really know exactly what the process is for voting leading to a whole lot of votes being discounted in federal elections (almost 740,000 in 2013)!

http://au.reachout.com/how-to-vote?gclid=CNfMgIqp2sgCFYUGvAodEgIEwg

It’s as easy as just putting numbers in a box. Rank your candidates from first preference to last preference. When you vote above the line you really just need to mark who you’re voting for. If you wanna vote bellow the line for the Senate, ABC once a year releases a website that tells you how to organise your votes that you can bring with you into the poling booths!

The voting process is easy! So just go for it! Make sure your vote counts!

Voting Is Cool I Swear! Like Legit! For Reals! I’m Totally Serious

Tony Abbott Sucks.

Yeah okay that is entirely subjective and totally my own opinion so I totally understand why people won’t agree with me when I say something like that. But I mean… c’mon! This is a dude who ran our country for almost two years who tried to make me pay more for my degree, tried to tell me i’d never be able to get married, who completely abolished an environmental portfolio and who, like many other people in his party, has gone on record saying climate change wasn’t an actual thing. Like seriously?

Here’s the thing tho… people voted for him. Like we didn’t just wake up one day when BAM! All of a sudden, with literally no explanation this idiot was now PM! No people literally voted for him. They put pen to paper and made a conscientious decision to vote for Tony Abbott. AND it wasn’t just a few people! Like it was a whole lot of people! Now I totally voted Labor in my electorate… so everyone who voted Liberal… this is on you!

Okay so that was a little harsh. Here’s the thing about voting though. Your vote is so important in determining who is gonna lead our country! We like to think to ourselves that sometimes our votes don’t matter. I think that sometimes! I live in one of the safest liberal seats in Australia! BUT if enough people vote and vote properly change may actually happen!

This is really the essence of what my campaign is all about to be completely honest! It’s about discussing the possibility of change. I’d like to live in a world where the economy isn’t mismanaged and jobs are secure. I’d like to live in a world where I can get married and enjoy the same rights as other people. I’d like to live in a world where people aren’t struggling hard for the same opportunities that I have easy access to. Yes these are all idealistic things but they’re still things we can dream about!

Voting wrongly is just the worst thing. By donkey voting we’re really just fuelling the fire of incompetency that can often perpetuate politics! So guys try and make a difference next year. Vote based on your beliefs and change Australia in 2016

Don’t Screw Up The Country!

Shorten or Turnbull?

This is a question we’re going to have to hear a lot about over the next year or so. The next Federal election is going to be almost completely dependent on that question! So who do we want as our next PM?

I’ve had a lot of thoughts on this issue. Anybody who knows me knows that I was never a fan of Tony Abbot (or TAbott the rabbit as my parents call him). So when Malcolm Turnbull ousted him, I was pretty happy! Here we were being transitioned from a conservative, right-wing prime minister who didn’t seem to be in touch at all with the Australian people, to a more moderate, progressive prime minister who was not only a charming and talented orator but was also in touch with the people.

In the same way, after the Gillard/Rudd debacle, the ALP was given a bit of stability when Shorten became leader. However I was never his biggest fan. He just wasn’t forceful enough in my eyes. He didn’t have that talent of rallying up the people and inspiring hope. Instead he was a little bit placid. He couldn’t play the media like he wanted to… or like all Labor voters would’ve wanted.

So now we’re faced with a dilemma… Do we want Turnbull or Shorten? Turnbull’s Liberal Party hasn’t changed too much. Their climate change policy is the same as the previous government’s just like a lot of other areas. So we’ve got 1 progressive PM, 1 conservative party. The ALP has some traditional progressive values but a potential PM that’s pretty lackluster. So we’ve got 1 meh PM, 1 progressive party.

For me it’s a difficult thing to think about. It’s going to be a decision we all make individually, based on personal preference! What do you want to prioritise… the PM or the party?

Both Parties Like Gay Marriage… Now What?

Gay Marriage.

Isn’t is a controversial issue!? It’s one that’s polarised people for the last few decades and sometimes those opinions are purely irreconcilable. It’s something that’s also been really polarising for politicians as well! Gay Marriage is something that I’ve personally been very passionate about. I think that it’s an incredibly important thing in helping erase the social stigma about gay people that still exists in society.

Under the Abbott government I was convinced it would take decades for gay marriage to be a thing! I thought you know what, maybe I should make peace with the idea that i’d never get married and i’d never be able to do that act that i so desperately wanted for my future. Abbott was never going to change his mind on the issue. AND even when I randomly bumped into his sister one night while out in the city, she still didn’t instil me with confidence.

Then BAM! All of a sudden we had a new PM! A PM who had been a massive proponent for gay marriage for YEARS! All of a sudden we had two leaders of parties who were pro gay marriage. I was so happy! “It’s time” I thought in complete Jubliation…

Then! Turnbull didn’t change the liberal policy on gay marriage at all. My hopes were dashed in the most spectacular fashion and any hope that I clung to had faded.

Here’s what both parties wanna do concerning gay marriage:

Labor:
– MPs should have a conscience vote on the issue

Liberal:
– Put the issue to the people in a plebiscite

The Labor party almost bound their entire party to vote FOR gay marriage. Honestly, and it’s probably selfish of me to think this, I wouldn’t have been opposed to that. Raising the numbers would’ve been incredibly helpful for the cause but also morally it probably wasn’t the best thing. I feel personally that if both parties wanted this to happen it would happen. It’s one of those things they can just vote for and within a few minutes it would have passed. Unfortunately this isn’t the case. If the libs wanted it to pass they’d have a conscience vote as well as a plebiscite in order to increase the chances.

Who knows when this will happen… but when it does i’ll be pretty stoked!

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will this affect how you vote? 

Apparently We’re All Gonna Die…

So apparently we’re all gonna die. It’s something my philosophy lecturer told my class very recently. It was a comment hidden amongst other things points about morality and justice but it was something that resonated with me quite a bit! It’s something that we’re all familiar with though. We know that in a few hundred million years or so the sun will expand and engulf the Earth… and we also know that if we don’t do something about the rapidly changing climate, humanity could be non-existent within a brief period of time! Climate change is something that I feel fairly strongly about AND it’s something I know a lot of other people are concerned with as well. So here are the policies for the LIBS and LABOR concerning Climate Change!

Labor Party

  • More Clean Energy
    • More jobs in this sector
    • 50% of electricity generated from renewables by 2030
    • More Solar Panels
  • Putting a cap on Carbon Emissions
  • Reef Rescue Program for Great Barrier Reef

http://www.alp.org.au/asustainableenvironment

Liberal Party

  • Green Army of 15,000
  • 5% reduction to Carbon Emissions by 2020
  • $3 billion Emission Reduction Fund
    • Only to be spent on green projects in Australia
  • Putting Carbon back into soil
  • Improving Water Security
    • 10-point plan for Murray Darlin
  • Streamline environmental approval process
  • Community based environmental policies
    • Supporting fishing industry

https://www.liberal.org.au/our-plan/environment

I Just Wanna Live! (And How I Started To Appreciate Free Healthcare)

Okay trashy Good Charlotte jokes aside, health is an incredibly important part of any government’s plan. Why, because it effects all of us! I had a rude awakening about the importance of health a couple of months ago actually!

I was incredibly excited and completely exhilarated! It was December and my parents had decided to go away for two months leaving me home, alone with the house completely to myself! I’d made many amazing grandiose plans with my friends and partner at the time. I was going to throw dinner parties, go to cafes, hit up the beach… just classic summertime activities. I’d even made plans to spend Christmas Eve with my best mates and Christmas Day and Night with a friend and his family. I was just so happy.

Then disaster struck! I’d spent the day shopping with my friends and we’d just returned back to my place to watch a movie when I noticed a pain in my stomach. After they’d left, the pain got worse. I was so worried! I had no parents and nobody to take care of me and here I was with this sharp pain in my abdomen. Luckily, one of my best friends had relatives visiting and one of them happened to be a doctor. He took me to the nearest hospital where I stayed until the doctors figured out what was wrong with me. Because of my medicare card, I was lucky enough to incur minimal cost which meant that I didn’t have to worry about money or anything while my parents were thousands of kilometres away!

For the next election I thought I’d break down the Health policies for both main parties. Let’s check em out!

Labor

  • No GP Co-payment
  • No privatization of the health system
  • Ensuring the security of Medicare Locals
    • Engaging local community with health services
  • Better dental care – improving public dental services
    • Especially for pensioners and low-income earners
  • Improving support for Mental Illness
    • Establishing more headspace centres

http://www.alp.org.au/betterhealth

Liberal

  • Manage local state hospitals through Local Hospital Boards
    • Made up of local communities and experts
      • NOT bureaucrats
    • Better mental health services
      • Better employment services for people with mental health issues
      • Creating Early Psychosis Prevention and Intervention Centres (EPPIC’s)
    • $35 million towards research for a cure for Diabetes (Type 1)
    • Listening medicines on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme
      • More transparency
    • Restoring the Private Health Insurance Rebate
      • Encourage more private health care
    • Bring Dental into medicare

https://www.liberal.org.au/our-plan/health

How The ABC Swayed My Vote!

At the last election I was so completely confused about how I wanted to vote. While my values sided more with Labor, I was a little bit concerned about political instability AND about the state of the Economy. Tony Abbot had run an incredibly effective opposition campaign against Julia Gillard leaving the Labor Party in shambles! On top of this, my local electorate is Joe Hockey’s which is one of the SAFEST Liberal seats in the country! So safe to say that if I voted Labor or Greens I definitely felt that it wouldn’t go too far.

Enter the ABC! I was scrolling through Facebook one day in the middle of a lecture, waiting for some piece of content to brighten up my dull, boring day. Then… BAM! A colourful post on Facebook. In bright, bold, black letters was a title: ‘ABC Vote Compass’. My friend turned to me. “What’s that?” she asked, curious and intrigued.

I clicked the link and was transported to another website. A slogan caught my eye: “Find where you stand”. I launched the application and was incredibly surprised by what I found!

The website was entirely dedicated to helping people figure out where they were aligned in the spectrum of different political values that characterised the time period! I filled out a few details about myself and started answering questions. The more questions I answered, the more I found my views were clarified! A the end, I was placed on an actual spectrum that told me which party had similar views to me! It was incredibly helpful in aiding my problem and I honestly feel it can help other people with a similar problem. If you don’t vote as a protest to the political system OR if you’re confused about which party stands for what because they all seem to blur together, I thoroughly reckon you should check out Vote Compass especially when it’s released in the next few months! It helped me and it could help you!

http://votecompass.com/

ABC

The Value of Independents – Mum’s staunch belief!

Logo - The Greens Party of Australia
Logo – The Greens Party of Australia

Independents and small parties are really vital to the Australian political process! The reason is that they basically keep the bigger parties in check. My mum is actually a staunch Greens voter so growing up with her ‘pro-greens’ sentiments has always been a really interesting experience for me! At the last Federal election I was intently discussing with both of my parents why they voted for the people they voted for. Dad, a staunch liberal voter went on a spiel about ‘economic management’, ‘fixing the budget’ and ‘stopping the revolving door policy of the Labor Party’. For dad it was mostly about slogans and public image policies. He was also very concerned with economic and business policy because of the fact that he works in the corporate environment. It was only natural for him to want to vote Liberal. However, when I asked my mum why she wanted to vote Greens, her answer was quite interesting.

“Rohan”, she said to me with a glimmer in her eyes, “I’m voting Greens because their policies aren’t just good, they stick by them. They make sure they attempt to fulfil them when they can”.

These words resonated with me. Before then I’d really just gone off the black and white policies of each party… i’d never really thought about that before.

It’s important for us when we’re voting to keep a broader picture of what’s actually happening in the political sphere. Okay we can totally sit and look at the situation and think to ourselves “you know what, it probably IS going to be between Labor and Liberal”. But in the same vain… who’s going to keep them in check?

A great example of the power of independents and smaller parties was during the minority government that resided over Australia between 2010-2013. The Gillard and Rudd governments were able to gain power by making deals with the independent members and the Greens. This meant that the Labor party needed to take a stance on issues it would probably normally not touch. AND on top of this, the minority government period actually saw the Greens take out a federal seat with Adam Bandt now the Federal MP for Melbourne!

It seems like smaller parties are gaining popularity with voters, especially younger ones. Parties like the Greens often embody the liberal and progressive ideas younger voters look for AND smaller parties can often provide a good contrast to the politicking of larger parties.

SO at the next election, remember to keep your options open! Do a little bit of digging! You may actually find, just like mum, that voting for smaller parties is more in line with the change YOU want to see in Australia for 2016!

Education

Education policies directly affect many young voters in Australia. It can often be an incredibly important area of consideration when voting in elections so i’m going to break down the different approaches to education from the two main australian political parties.

The Liberal National Party (LNP)

For the last year and a half, the LNP has experienced a lot of controversy with their education policies. In the 2014 Federal Budget, former treasurer Joe Hockey announced a plan to de-regulate university fees. This meant that universities would be given full control over how much they charged students and government subsidies would be reduced significantly. The government also proposed cuts to vocational education bodies such as TAFE. Recently, the new prime-minister Malcolm Turnbull has announced that uni fee deregulation would be put on hold until 2017. The LNP does however want to increase opportunities for Australian students to learn in Asian universities. Similarly for secondary education, they wish to create more independent schools. This will save the government money but may affect the quality of education

  • Cut Uni Funding + Deregulate fees
    • postponed till 2017
  • More opportunities to study in Asia
    • Colombo Plan
  • More independent Schools
  • National Chaplaincy Programme
  • Investing in more Science education in Primary Schools

The Australian Labor Party (ALP)

The ALP were behind the Gonski funding plan for Secondary Education that was eventually scrapped by the LNP after the 2013 election. They plan to invest in areas involving technology for secondary education and to improve on the quality of secondary education. The Labor Party takes a stance against deregulating uni fees and believes it’s important to have a high quality of teachers in schools

  • 5 year STEM teacher training fund
    • STEM = Science, Technology, Engineering, Maths
  • Ensuring computer programming is taught in every school
  • No uni fee deregulation
  • Investing $31 million to improve quality of teaching/resources for universities
  • Increasing accessibility of university for