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A time for Liberation

No one is forcing you to eat your Greens. Just educate yourself and make an informed decision. You may find out that these Greens are quite acidic and you may opt for other vegetables. The same approach can be taken with politics.

Confused? Keep reading.

My mother has taught me a fair bit, but in more recent times, her advice has been to steer away from two topics in conversation — religion and politics. Wading through these intrepid waters will apparently only lead you to drown… or at least burn your bridges and leave you in the middle of the ocean with no one wanting to help you.

But, when asked to write for Tharunka, I ignored these preceding lessons, whipped out my trusty notebook, and used this as an opportunity to tell the world (of UNSW students) my point of view of the upcoming election. I have only been of voting age for two years, and couldn’t be more excited to cast my first vote in a Federal election. I recently became aware, through my random browsing of social media, that some people are not as excited, when a friend posted after the Gillard/Rudd debacle: “Had enough of this politics rubbish, most people don’t care. So hurry up and put normal TV back on and do this in your own time”. I only usually quote from reputable sources, such as Wikipedia, but was absolutely horrified when I saw this. Consequently, I wanted to share my story with you.

I am an Accounting and Economics student. Between 8:15am and 8:45am, you will find me behind the pages of the AFR. I have customised my Factiva alerts so that at 4:30 every afternoon, I receive an update of all financial news relating to various companies. Like many, I like to update my newsfeed. No, I am not casting for the next series of Beauty and the Geek (as a beauty…?), I just like to stay informed.

I love studying Economics so much that, in my head, I rename this portion of my degree to ‘EcoYESmics’, because nothing so great should constitute a negative word. My eyes light up at the sound of equ..ilibrium, so when I see on a daily basis that Australia’s economy is facing a downturn, the prospect of over $250 billion public debt and reality of more taxes, I begin to weep metaphorical tears for our future.

It was my initial interest in Australian economics that sparked my curiosity in politics. Three years later, I am proud to say that along with at least 2000 others, I am a Young Liberal.

Young Australians, who once celebrated billions in surplus and low taxes under Howard, now face a national debt crisis, fewer job prospects, and a significant percentage increase in the cost of living since the ALP came into power.

In his most recent pre election advertisement on Government debt, Rudd attempts to neutralise these debt levels by stating that “Australia’s debt per capita is one of the lowest in the developed world”, and compares these supposed low levels of debt to that of Portugal, Italy, Ireland, Greece and Spain. Unfortunately, unless you’re up to date with world economics or you do an Economics degree (and are therefore forced to write a 5,000-word essay on debt crises), you wouldn’t know that these countries are in the midst of the Sovereign Debt Crisis of the Eurozone, which began in 2009.

It becomes apparent that this advertisement is simply being used to diffuse a serious issue — that the increase in debt under Labor has been the fastest, both in dollar terms and as a share of GDP in modern Australian history, resulting in ruin and squandered opportunities for our nation.

When people ask me who I will vote for in the upcoming Federal election, my answer is quite simple. I will vote for a steadfast party that promotes economic stability and individual freedom, because that is what I believe is most important. The Liberal Party has shown none other than a strong forefront willing to stand up against the damage caused in recent years.

We deserve to be a nation that can pride ourselves on our political and economic stability.

This is the most exciting and liberating time in any three-year period. This is our chance to exercise our constitutional right and voice our opinion to elect our future Government.

However, despite all the excitement, according to a recent survey by the Australia Institute, 45 per cent of people aged 17–25 are “not really interested” in upcoming election, and 60 per cent of people not enrolled to vote do not intend to.

Plato once wrote “you can easily forgive a child who is afraid of the dark; the real tragedy of life is when men are afraid of the light.” Do not be children! Be the people of voting age that you are! You have access to an abundance of information on Australian politics from its history to current policies that are all in light.

I write this simply to encourage you to make use of your constitutional right, embrace the freedom that this nation has given you, become educated about all proposed policies an make an informed decision about the future of Australia’s Government, like I know I have.

You are given a right to vote. Do Australia a favour and vote responsibly!

Stephanie Nehme