Here’s why. For me, even though I do have a preference, it’s not really about who wins or loses. Aussie battlers like us have survived bad governments before, and we’ll survive them again if and when they come. No, for me, and millions of other Australians, either born here or naturalised, it’s about the freedom to choose. It’s about being part of a process many around the world cannot enjoy.
We call ourselves the Lucky Country. Indeed, like many others we are. We have freedom to vote. More than that, we have the responsibility to vote. This freedom; this responsibility, is one of the many reasons many of us, our parents, our grandparents and so on, fled other countries to come to this one. Others still fought in wars, many to their deaths, so they or their families would be free.
My parents in-law fled Poland in the early eighties with just a suitcase and two young girls. One of them became my wife and we are blessed with two beautiful daughters. I cannot express my admiration for Babcia and Dziadek (Grandma and Grandpa in Polish) enough.
Generation after generation of Australians have similar stories to tell. Sure, there’s still — thankfully — a strong indigenous population despite the awful things the early settlers and the resulting governments did to them. But walk down your local shopping strip. You’ll see faces of people from just about every corner of the globe, and you can bet your arse not all of those places allow (ed) their people the freedom to select who sits in the big chair. Hell, even we didn’t give our indigenous peoples that right until relatively recently. Thank goodness we’ve seen sense. Not everyone is so lucky.
So, when ballot time comes, whether it’s here or anywhere else where free elections are held, don’t waste your right. Be cynical about politicians of course; it’s what they deserve, but they don’t deserve to just march in and take over. Only you can invite them.
Your freedom to vote was not cheap. Don’t not vote. Don’t donkey vote. You have a voice. You owe it to those who fought and or fled oppression for you to have that right.