Original article published here
So if you’re anything like me, the bananas merry-go-round that is the Australian political system might make you feel rather disillusioned at times.
For one thing, it seems like most of what happens in parliament is talk. All talk, no action.
For another, as a young person some of us often feel rather ignored by the tendency of our system to talk about young Australians as problematic, self-absorbed nuff nuffs, rather than talking toyoung Australians about the challenges we face, and the opportunities we see for change.
One of the rare times we millennials have the chance to increase the likelihood of getting our voices heard is when an election comes around.
Unfortunately, many young people aren’t enrolled to vote. Ironically, it’s for some of the reasons listed above.
In fact, according to the Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) a massive 254,432 young Aussies eligible to vote at the last federal election were M.I.A. That’s around 13% of young people who would have voted but didn’t either cos they weren’t enrolled or their enrolment details weren’t up to date.
When you compare this to the fact that less than 2% of people aged 60+ weren’t on the electoral roll it pretty significantly diminishes the ability of the Gen Y vote to get heard.
Peeps, the time is now.
You may or may not have heard that a significant opportunity is coming up for us young people to get our voices heard. It’s the much talked about postal survey on marriage equality.
Wait, what? A postal survey? I thought this was going to be a postal plebiscite?! (The one-way nature if writing an article on the internet means I need to improvise and pre-empt your questions here.) Turns out, latest news is that this will now be referred to as the Australian Marriage Law Postal Survey for reasons related to how the AEC works. ANYWAY, the event formerly referred to as a postal plebiscite on marriage equality is on its way. And for those of you who aren’t enrolled to vote, you gotta get your skates on to have your say!
While voting in local, state and federal elections is compulsory, the upcoming much-talked about postal survey on marriage equality is not compulsory. However, it is our opportunity to ensure the youth voice is part of the outcome.
How does the postal survey work?
So pleased you asked. If you’re on the electoral role, the government will mail you the survey, you’ll fill it in with a yes or no (also known as your view on the matter), and you’ll pop it in the ol’ red letter box back to our mate Malcs. Or, you know, the return address it specifies.
The big thing to know is you’ve got to motor cos word on the street is you’ve only got 14 days to get your act together. Latest details are saying the cut off to update your address or enrol altogether is August 24.
What do you need to do to have your say?
Step 2. If you are enrolled, you should double check your postal address is up to date. Remember how we said it was a postal survey? You’re not going to get the chance to take part if you’ve still got an old address listed. Get to it!
But, wait what if i’m overseas?
We’re getting so good at this back and forth dialogue. No dramas! The AEC lets you register as an overseas voter, and gives you the option to vote either in an embassy or diplomatic post, or to be a general postal voter. So even if you’re lucky enough to be traipsing around Europe you can get this done.
Now go forth and ensure you can participate in the survey. Whatever your say is, it’s important young people have their voices heard on this matter.