Casting my First Vote  

Jazz D (Year 12), Editor in Chief

Prime Minister of Great Britain during WW2 Winston Churchill once said, “The best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter.” This article shouldn’t take 5 minutes to read, but according to the late great Winston, your faith in democracy should be severely diminished by the end.  

On the morning of Saturday 21st May, along with millions of other Aussies, I strolled down to the local polling stations to cast my ever so decisive vote, recently having only just turned 18. As I entered the primary school where I would vote, I was utterly devastated at the lack of sizzling BBQs; clearly, this school did not believe in democracy or sausages.  

Nevertheless, I strode on to the booths and walked past several people handing me how to vote cards. Fearing to look rude I simply took them all. One representative of a particular party even begged me to vote for their party, like a child asking their parents for lollies at the Coles checkout; their desperation was actually quite unsettling, but probably warranted, given the election result…  

For the past decade, my electorate has always voted Labor, which meant, clearly, it was time for some change, and my vote would be that ever so crucial decider in ridding my area of Labor’s tyranny! Within my electorate, I had to rank the 8 candidates 1-8. Other than a bunch of random independents who hadn’t even bothered to make a Facebook page when I had tried to research them beforehand, there was one standout independent. This candidate promised to abolish “ALL” taxes. You name it, GST, income tax, he wanted them all gone. Some voters were clearly won over by this man’s ludicrous promises as he won 3.4% of the vote in the electorate. This means 2,951 people actually voted for this guy! There goes my faith in the democratic process. 

This somehow landed this independent above the Liberal Democrats (if you’re wondering who these guys are, they’re basically the Liberals, but they actually stand for something and therefore, aren’t as popular or well-funded) and above the One Nation candidate – though that doesn’t surprise me after all who in their right mind would…  

Then there was the United Australia Party candidate which, let’s be real, these guys just give their vote to the Liberals in the end anyways. Clive Palmer’s Party makes quite the effort to let everyone know they support ‘FREEDOM FREEDOM FREEDOM’ – which I think is a little suspicious. Although Mr Palmer himself, quite unlike the school I voted at, evidently supports democracy and sausages. Though perhaps he supports them a little too much…  

I did give a quick glance at the Greens candidate on the ballot. And that was about all I did there. No offense to any Greens supporters, but they’re really just the carbon copy of the UAP on the other side of the aisle – although the only difference is people actually vote for the Greens.  

It thus came down to that all-decisive choice between Liberal or Labor for the House of Representatives. Alas, such is the current state of our politics, a 2-party monopoly. It’s been so long since Labor was in power, I can barely remember when they last controlled the government. Hopefully, their memory is better than mine though I’d hate to think they’ve forgotten how to run the country. I would forgive any Labor MP who sits on the wrong side of the House of Reps at their first sitting, embarrassing though it would be, who can blame them?  

On the other hand, the Liberals have been in power for so long that they appear to have grown complacent and out of touch with the common person. What a surprise for a party that is mostly funded by multimillion-dollar corporations! However, I do envy the way, Scott Morrison shirks responsibility. Given the opportunity, I’m sure we’d all take the chance to go to Hawaii for some fresh air while our nation literally roasts!

Of course, we all know how the election turned out. But what I took most from the experience of voting was how fun it was to read the senate ballot. Parties, such as the Animal Rights Party or Legalise Marijuana Now Party, clearly know how to attract the common person. I know many other first-time voting contemporaries my age were drawn to these unparalleled options.  

In the end, my electorate remained Labor. How scandalous!