On Saturday, 2nd July Australians are going to the polls to vote in our federal election. Throughout the weeks leading up to this election we have been subjected to aggressive political campaigns by both major parties and relentless lobbying by many of the minor parties, each vying for our vote. Promises and counter promises, scare campaigns, character attacks and questions about leadership competence are tactics that have been employed by all sides of politics; but to what effect?
This election has been coined as the most significant in a generation with contentious issues like border protection, safe schools and same sex marriage poised to challenge the social landscape in our country. That's not forgetting critical issues like education, economics and health care!
As a conscientious Australian over the age of 18 I join with approximately 16.5 million other eligible voters to decide which party is best suited to lead our nation for the next four years. The question of who should get my vote is complicated and has provoked a lot of considered thought, because I want my vote to count. This is the same sentiment I observe from many others on social media. However, there are those who don't see the point or don't know what to do given the options. While I have never sought to influence 'who' anybody should vote for, I offer 'how' I will be voting as a possible framework for those who are struggling to figure out how to use their vote.
- Do I trust either major party to lead with an absolute majority?
- Which minor party aligns closest with my worldview and values?
- Whose preferences will provide the best balance of power in parliament according to my worldview?
- Whose influence will keep the government accountable to the values I want represented in parliament?
From my perspective, if there is dissatisfaction with both major parties, then the minor parties are not a wasted vote. At this stage in our history none of them will hold power, but they can exert quite a lot of influence in the way our country is governed. Minor parties and independents who win a seat in parliament contribute to the total number of seats required to pass any legislation presented by the government. Although neither major party want to govern in this way, maybe it is necessary until we have a government who will actually lead and not just play politics.
Which ever way you choose to vote, please don't allow disillusionment to discourage you from believing that you really can make a difference. Make your vote count!