Vox pop: Lena (19)

Respectful conversation and debate is important for a healthy democracy. Through our vox pops we chat to young Aussies about what matters to them, how they get informed and other important stuff like who they would make PM if they had all the powers.

Name: Lena

Age: 19

Occupation: Student (from Western Australia)

If you could choose ANYONE (fictional, dead or alive!) to be our PM, who would it be and why? 

Is stealing another PM okay?! Canada's, Justin Trudeau has great policies and views towards gender equality, refugees, and the environment. He also believes in a diverse parliament, which is needed when representing a country that contains diverse citizens. I honestly find him inspiring, especially in a world where leaders believe in tough policies and where basic social justice issues are swept under the carpet.

Australia invents a new $500 banknote. Which Aussie do you put on there and why?

Hugh Jackman is the only appropriate answer to this question! The wonderful human can sing, act, dance, and is a global ambassador for several charities and organisations. There is truly no one in Aussie land more worthy of such honour.

via GIPHY Justin Trudeau for Aus PM?!?

What are the top 3 issues that will be influencing your vote at the next election? Why?

Asylum seekers, climate change and education.

Can you elaborate on any of the debates and/or policies that will be influencing your vote in regards to the issues you mentioned?

I want a government that removes innocent people from detention and welcomes them into the community where they can be safe and accepted. Increasing Australia's renewable energy and sustainability policies is so important in today's world where the effects of climate change are becoming increasingly evident. As a major developed country we need to be a leader in combating climate change and promoting basic human rights. 

In regards to education, I stand for the decrease in costs associated with tertiary study in order to give more people the opportunity to study. I believe further education should be an option regardless of one's financial situation. 

How do you get informed about politics? Can you recommend any particular sources of info to others looking to get informed on these topics?

I am particularly a fan of the ABC and the Guardian. Q&A is great as it presents a variety of views from a wide range of people. I also love reading articles written by other youth in particular on triple j hack and Foundation for Young Australians. Several MP's from a variety of political parties have my following as I love to keep up what they are doing, which is particularly useful when deciding who will get my vote.

An estimated 800,000 eligible 18-30 year olds didn't vote at the last election. What do you think about this?

To be honest I'm not surprised given the lack of education that young people receive in regards to voting, along with the disconnection that exists between youth and politics. The figure is certainly concerning, making it so important that the government and organisations like Y Vote work to decrease this figure by inspiring young people to vote.

Do you think it's important for people to vote? Why/why not?

It's absolutely important! Leaders have a large amount of power over how our country works and by voting, we get an opportunity to mold our government into how we would like it. We only have one vote each, but each vote makes up the overall figure. At the last election, the margin was so small compared to the amount of people that did not vote, those people could have easily changed the outcome.

Say your best mate was thinking of not voting. How would you compel them to change their mind? *Excluding sausage sizzle bribery.

In Australia, we are incredibly lucky to all be given the opportunity to vote, a valuable right that unfortunately not all in this world receive. I would remind them of this and that even though one vote won't declare the winner, you are still contributing to the overall result. It's easy to feel like your vote won't have any worthwhile effect, and that politics is a waste of time but how can we expect a change when we aren't willing to do anything ourselves. We need to show the government that young people care and one good way is for all of us to vote. Choosing not to vote, means you are walking away from an opportunity to make the country better for yourself and for others.