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How To Vote If You're Apathetic About The Election

You can use your voice to help others.

30/06/2016 11:44 AM AEST | Updated July 15, 2016 12:56
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Don't be an ass.

For a lot of people, the election result has little material effect. You might get a small tax cut or increase, which you probably won't notice. If you don't have kids at school, own a small business or a property portfolio, the election can seem a bit inconsequential for your individual circumstances. Fortunately, you don't need to use your vote to help yourself. You can, in fact, use it to benefit other members of society.

The rhetoric around schools and hospitals from the major parties can be confusing, and at times dishonest, so trying to work out which party is helping kids, sick people and the elderly can become tiring. So who are some other groups you could help with your vote?

The gays

Not gay? No problem, but there are a lot of gay people around. You might not know any personally or at least think you don't, but you will have heard they would really like the same rights as everyone else and be able to get married. The parties have clear policies on marriage equality. Your vote could help make wedding bells ring for thousands of gay couples who want to be just as unhappy as married couples everywhere.

Party positions

Coalition: Hold a $160m plebiscite at some point in the future to gauge public opinion. If legislation is introduced to the parliament Liberal MP's will not be bound by the results of the plebiscite.

ALP: The first bill introduced into the parliament by a Labor Government would be a bill to introduce marriage equality. ALP members can vote with their conscience.

Greens: Full platform of support for marriage equality. All Greens MP's are bound to vote for marriage equality.

Refugees

Ever get the feeling that something's wrong but you're not too sure what to do about it? Well apparently that's how Australians feel about both major parties' (practically identical) plans for asylum-seekers.

A recent poll found only 22 percent of respondents agreed with the Coalition and Labor policies that people who arrive by boat should never be settled in Australia and 66 percent of respondents believe that doctors in Australia's offshore detention facilities should be able to speak openly about the conditions in the detention centres. They currently face criminal prosecution for doing so.

Are you part of this majority who thinks something's not cool about asylum seeker policy? You could use your vote to express how you feel about the asylum-seeker issue by voting for someone that is pledging to do something -- anything -- to make the treatment of asylum-seekers more humane.

You don't have to know the intricacies of the law or have some silver bullet master plan of your own to vote for change (that's what politicians are meant to be for). If you feel like something should be done, but you're not sure what, then now is the time to say so. Find a candidate in your electorate who can be your voice on this issue.

Party positions

Here's some information from the Refugee Council of Australia:

End offshore processing and 'turning back' boats

Increase the size of Refugee intake

Funding for regional refugee protection

End detention for children and families

Coalition

No

18,700 per year by 2018-2019

No

No

ALP

No

27,000 per year by 2025

$450 million over 3 years

No

Greens

Yes

50,000 per year

Over $500 million over 4 years

Yes

Fish and Coral

Are you sick of helping other people with your vote? Humans = lame. Why don't you help some fish and coral instead? Nearly one quarter of the Great Barrier Reef has already been lost to bleaching. This is due to a number of factors, but most notably climate change. The reef is one of the natural wonders of the world, and it's on our doorstep... shouldn't we be looking out for it? Consider using your vote to save the reef from further destruction. Also, have you seen baby Dory? Don't let her die.

Party positions

Coalition: Continue with current Reef 2050 plan.

ALP: $500m over five years, $377m in new investment along with various strategies to reduce climate change.

Greens: Reversal of previous funding cuts and top up funding for the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park, banning dredging and strategies to reduce climate change.

Voting in an election is the ultimate way to send a message to our representatives, better than Facebook, Twitter and protests combined. If you feel like you won't be affected by either major party's leadership, then why not use your democratic right to give a voice to another issue that you care about? You don't need to know the intricacies of each party's policies for your vote to be meaningful. Have your say. Tell the major parties what you believe in.

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