Young people & first time voters; your vote is a powerful thing
This statement alarms me and it should alarm you too:
“an estimated 500,000 people aged between 18 and 24 - a quarter of those eligible - are not registered to vote”.
This morning I had coffee with Tessa Ganley of Port Pirie. Not unusual you might say. I do like a good coffee and I do like to chat!
This conversation was different though.
From the very outset, it was immediately apparent that Tessa’s 'global view' of life was far beyond that of her 17 years. This degree of understanding is a powerful instrument. An instrument she wielded adeptly.
Tessa’s keen sense of what is just and what simply is not, is staggering.
I detected absolutely no level of apathy from Tessa. Indeed the opposite is true.
Tessa genuinely cares.
Tessa cares about her future and that of our nation, our planet and its people.
Tessa cares about democracy.
As my daughter Esther, not quite 16, involved herself in the conversation, I had a keen sense of admiration and reverence for these young women.
The opinions, ideas and views of young people like Tessa & Esther must be considered and valued. They deserve that, unequivocally.
I have said it before and I will say it again…It is this generation, who are not yet old enough to vote, who I believe we should be listening to. It is this generation who will be left a legacy of either a state of hope or a state of despair.
What I have come to realise over the past few years is that, through no fault of their own, many politicians are heavily concerned with their current term and their re-election.
I believe it is time for a new crop of politicians to consider a view far beyond the next political cycle and make decisions, some difficult ones, which will work to deliver more sustainable outcomes for our State and our Nation.
Most importantly though… it is our legacy to make wise decisions for the generation yet to vote; and the generations yet to be born, the children of young people like Tessa and Esther.
Making up 12 per cent of the electorate means that 18-24 year olds have incredible power.
I say harness that power and send a clear message on Election Day.
So, if you are voting for the first time or were thinking of not voting because you say you don’t care, I implore you to Stop. Think. Consider.
Tessa understands the importance of voting, even though at this Federal Election, she will not yet old enough to cast her vote.
Tessa understands that people lose life and limb to exercise their right to vote.
In Australia women who were British subjects, 21 years and older, only gained the right to vote and the right to stand for parliament in 1902.
South Australia was a bit more progressive and allowed women to vote and stand for parliament in 1895.
Sadly it wasn’t until 1962 that the right to vote in federal elections was granted to Australian Aboriginal women who, together with Australian Aboriginal men, had been specifically excluded from the franchise in Australia by the Commonwealth Franchise Act 1902.
I say emphatically to all young people, “You have the right and freedom to participate in this democracy, so do so.
Be informed. Be motivated to make your vote count.
Your vote is a powerful and precious thing.”
You can enrol online at:
Who is enrolled?
- 91.2pc of Australians...that means 1.39m not enrolled
- 74.2pc of 18 to 24-year-olds (493,000 not enrolled)
- 48.3 per cent of 18-year-olds
- 65.8 per cent of 19-year-olds
- 75.2 per cent of 20-year-olds