There are probably a lot of people out there who, like me, aren’t all that informed about the upcoming election. I am by no means completely oblivious to what’s going on – I would say I know the very basic information about Labor, Liberal, and to some extent, The Greens – but that’s about it.
Embarrassingly, I’d be able to tell you much more about the US election. I say embarrassingly because I should know more about what’s going on in my own backyard as opposed to another country.
I don’t think it’s entirely my fault. Media coverage of the US election here in Australia has been everywhere and at times, is almost unavoidable. I have also heard a number of people refer to this upcoming Federal election as somewhat tame in the hype stakes – in other words, kinda boring. And let’s not forget that a lot of Australians’ attitudes towards politics aren’t exactly positive, making for a very ‘who cares’ kind of mentality from a great deal of people.
That’s the thing though – I really want to care. I’m pretty sick of being one of those people who constantly complains about the state of this country and the people calling the shots. I have some knowledge, but it’s time for more.
I’m calling myself out, because I know there are a lot of others in my position and hopefully they might experience the same political epiphany I’m experiencing.
So how do I – we – fix our attitudes and get informed? There are a few things I’ve started to do more of in the lead-up to July 2.
Read, Watch, and Listen
It’s pretty simple really. If you want to know what’s going on with the election, paying attention to the news is a MUST. If you are someone who generally pays no attention to what’s going on in the world, this may prove tedious, but you really don’t have any other option.
Quality Over Quantity
On the other hand though, I don’t think you should sift through every single news program on TV or radio or read every single newspaper or article online known to exist. I’ve been trying to go to a few key outlets for my information. I’ve also tried to ensure that they are pretty well respected outlets, like the ABC, SBS, The Australian, and The Guardian. For basic information on the actual voting process, you can always try the official Australian Electoral Commission website. AustralianPolitics.com also gives a very comprehensive list of current registered political parties in the country.
It’s Leaflet/Pamphlet-Collecting Time!
Yeah, you know those pesky mail outs you get from your local MPs or the Prime Minister, telling you why you shouldn’t vote for the Opposition? Don’t just throw them in the recycling – keep them aside and have a skim through. Again, it’s a pretty tedious thing to do, especially for someone who’s generally not that interested. But they do come in handy if you’re after some basic information. Have a little read over a few of them while you’re having breakfast or while you’re on the train to work. Then you can recycle!
Ask and You Shall Receive
If you don’t know something, just ask someone you trust or think might have the answer. I put it to Facebook a little while ago for suggestions on online articles that pieced together what the main parties are all about this election. A friend suggested I try Vote Compass. It’s basically a survey that gets you to answer a bunch of questions related to the policies that the main players are putting their weight behind. It gives you results that tell you which party you’re leaning more towards voting for. Of course it’s not 100% accurate, but it may give you a clearer picture of what you want out of this election.