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(Political) Power to the People


Amelia Strazdins

There are many things in our lives that are perceived as a chore, from filling up the car to grocery shopping, these tasks are just another thing to check off the list. Some even view voting as a chore. It is not!

When we look back in history, we are often quick to criticise. Why were women not given the right to vote earlier? Why did we not protect Indigenous people and land sooner? Why did people support governments and laws that have only caused detriment? These are all valid questions. However, it makes me question whether in 50 or a hundred years, if the following generations will look back on this period of history and question us. Why did they not protect the environment? Why did they not ensure equal maternity/paternity leave? The questions would go on and on.

Make no misconceptions, there are many groups and individuals in Australia who are politically active, protesting, voting, educating themselves and pushing for change within our country. Unfortunately, there are also many who remain politically complacent, happy to vote for a party unaware of their policies and positions.

Our right to vote and freely express our political preferences are a privilege that many around the world are still fighting to obtain. Our form of government is determined as a responsible government. This meaning that the government is responsible and accountable to its constituents -us- the people who elect them. Although we are not in parliament house making the decisions, our personal political choices directly and indirectly, hold great impact. Ultimately, a responsible government reflects our priorities as a society. It can be easy for some to brush off politics as ‘it does not directly impact their lives’ or ‘does not concern them’ but with the changing socio-political climate, it is more than evident these choices hold a great impact on everyone.

At the current moment, much of Australian politics has been centred around post-pandemic recovery and the economy, specifically the rising cost of living. Environmental policy has also remained a contentious topic between parties. Issues such as climate change and their importance in parliament is determined partially by the push from the public.

We are a crucial aspect of growing issues in that we hold the ability to choose, to vote and to hold our politicians accountable for their actions, or lack thereof.

Another incredibly important political decision that is currently at the forefront of Australian politics is the upcoming referendum. For many, including myself, this will be our first time voting in a referendum, a vote that directly impacts our constitution. Not only does this vote impact a key foundational document of our government, but it also impacts the traditional owners of this land. The Voice to Parliament presents to the Australian people the ability to assist in moving Australian politics forward towards greater representation and positive change. This upcoming referendum is not something to be taken lightly. Our duty as recipients of democratic freedoms and rights is to ensure we remain political informed, aware and educated. Political freedom and democracy is not a chore. Your vote is a privilege.

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