Why I won’t be voting labor or liberal this election

May 06, 2016
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My failures have been errors in judgment, not intent.

This quote by the 18th President of the United States Ulysses S. Grant still remains relevant nearly 150 years later – in Australia. The failures of our government are also errors of judgment, but of a different kind. Instead it’s a failure to act, and thanks to people-powered news, we’ve all worked out that this was very much intended.

And so I have made up my own mind, just two and a bit months before the Federal Election, that I will not be voting for the current government or the current opposition. Why? Because they don’t care what the hell we say any more. It’s like watching Citizen Kane in real life – drugged faces of political parties which can’t sort out its act together. Well done you fools.

Food for thought

Xavier Toby writes the following quite perfectly in his The Age column:

“If you voted...

Liberal, you're selfish.

Labor, you want to waste money.

Liberal, you think stuff everyone else, my money is for me.

Labor, you believe in sharing for the good of society, but don't mind that a lot of it will be going to the least effective workforce in all of human history.

Not much of a choice, is it?”

Perhaps it is possible we are all selfish. As university students many of us are too busy questioning whether we’re doing the right degree, where we want to live and what occupation we want to do when we graduate. We’re only trying to plan the rest of our lives without a lot of money or a lot of hope. Fantabulous, huh?

The “positive” policy

The Labor Party’s “positive” (greatest irony ever) policies include lowering the voting age to 16, providing “more humane” assistance to asylum seekers (at a cost of nearly $500 million to an already deeply in debt budget) and legalising same-sex marriage in 100 days.

And in its university-centric rhetoric, the Party will introduce a student funding guarantee as well as upskilling 25,000 teachers. The earlier of these concepts will cost money (indirectly) and the latter will cost money too (directly through funding).

Labor also wants to take out an extra $31 million to boost resources in universities, remembering again, we are nationally lacking money. We still haven’t sorted out primary and secondary education collapses yet, and that problem is a decade old (and apparently will take an extra decade to get to the levels we need to be.)

To which I use Dr Baxter’s words from Destination Moon from the Adventures of Tintin:

“Time! We don’t have time!”

…or the money. And for what resources? Well, this Party, who is supposedly in favour of university students, didn’t ask us either.

And it’s no better in the blue corner either

As for us university students, the Government’s higher education promises include “restructuring government research funding” and “stable sources of infrastructure funding”. In reply to Labor, the Coalition promise a “comparative advantage” to Australian education as opposed to direct benchmarks. No figures, no numerical goals, nada.

General answers, great reactions, no points with us!

So wait – what results? Stable sources? Infrastructure funding? Supporting international students? We cannot even afford to get home-grown students studying in higher education because it’s bloody expensive.

No one asked us what we think should happen to higher education, whether the budget deficit will be fixed soon.

No one asked us. No one.

So why should we vote for the major parties when their “listening” is in fact geared towards the funders who will keep them in business?

All we're asking of you, both Liberal and Labor, is that you trust us. We're not dumb. But if you at least listen to us, we might just guarantee you the right to keep governing us.

You have been put on notice. You are welcome.

Hans Lee

Hans Lee is a Commerce/Arts student at Macquarie University and is in his first year. He majors in Economics and Communication and is hoping he won’t be the subject of a comedy act near you. You can tweet him @hansleetweets

Image: Lady Jove, Flickr Creative Commons license