Vox pop: Aimee (19)

Name: Aimee

Age: 19

Occupation: I’m currently at school

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

It would probably be Penny Wong because she’s a politician that’s always stood out to me. She actually has solid morals and she’s effective with what she does.

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

I would say someone Indigenous because there are way too many white people on our money.

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

Youth unemployment and homelessness, and anything to do with equality and discrimination because those are all issues that have really personally affected me. For example I was knocked back from getting a job recently – they didn’t say it, but I’m pretty sure it was because I’m female and I was going for a trade work position, even though I did work experience there shoveling dirt for eight hours a day. I was on par with everyone else but they didn’t give me the job.

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 trust SBS more than any other news channel, mostly because when you see SBS news stories, you say "that’s relevant, it’s a good topic to have a discussion about", whereas you see the other news channels and it’s like, “today, a dog got lost”. It’s cute, but is that news? 

Generally I get a lot of stuff through Facebook – if there’s something big happening, there’ll be a good couple of hundred statuses about it so that’s a really good way to find out about stuff. 

Plus, I get newsletters and emails and that kind of thing from Amnesty, YACSA, GetUp!... all kinds of different groups. Whenever something happens, I’m always informed through them, because they’ll say “Oi, the government just did this and it’s not good, sign this petition”. 

Cute. But probably not news.

Cute. But probably not news.

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

It doesn’t really surprise me at all. I think voting is one of the small pieces to the big puzzle of being engaged in politics and democracy. I guess, looking at the big picture, you need to be voting, but it needs to go beyond that. It’s not just good enough to be voting, you need to be informed, you need to put pressure on candidates in your electorate otherwise your vote isn’t really worth that much. I know heaps of people – my brother, when it comes round to voting, he just goes “Aimee, you’re involved with politics, what do I do? Tell me who to vote for, I’ll do it”. He’s not thought about it at all, his vote is just basically two votes for me. Uninformed votes are just as bad as no vote at all, in my opinion, because it’s not democracy. It looks better on paper, but it’s still not democracy.

And what do you think you can do to change that?

Jacqui Lambie is awesome because she proves that there doesn’t need to be this whole stereotype of being a pompous suit who’s studied years of law, coming from a private school and a wealthy family. You don’t have to have all of those kinds of things to be a politician and to be a good politician. I don’t agree with all of her policies, but what she fights for, she does a damn good job of it and she definitely speaks for the people she’s representing. You can’t argue with any of that.

I think more of that kind of pulling down or breaking down the barriers between the working class voters and people who say, “We tell you what’s best for you because we know best – we’ll do all the complicated stuff and we’ll just tell you little bits about what you need to know. Don’t worry about it, you just keep running about your daily lives.” No, everyone needs to be informed; everyone needs to know what’s going on. 

I think the language definitely needs to change in politics – it doesn’t need to be as complicated as it is. Nothing in politics needs to be as complicated as it is. Especially with technology – the government websites are awful to use. That is the best means for anyone to get information about what the government is doing and it’s the most out-dated website there is. That’s not good enough! You should not be able to navigate a porn site better than a government website. Simple as that – that is a problem, that is why democracy doesn’t work right now, as far as I’m concerned. 

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

I would tell them that if you really don’t think there’s anything worth voting for, think about what’s worth voting against. I bet you there’s a candidate that has one particular or a few particular things in their platform that you definitely don’t want to see in office. If you can’t vote for something, vote strongly against something else.