ding to the Australian Electoral Commission there are half a million young people missing from the electoral roll, approximately one-third of total unenrolled voters. This statistic attests to how disenfranchised and disillusioned young people have become with the political situation.
This dissatisfaction is caused by a lack of vision from our leaders and the media, a blindness that limits debate and holds the agenda captive to headline-grabbing slogans. Vision and leadership are what is needed to reinvigorate young people, bringing them back into the fold.
What we do not need is the lofty rhetoric offered in the past, the promise of transformation and reform without strategy. The “great moral challenges”
time will not be solved by words alone. They require careful planning and an evidence-based approach.
The most glaring example of this is climate change and the threat it poses to my future. The possibility that my unborn children may have to navigate a world with millions of environmental refugees, in which international conflict over water supplies is commonplace and destructive climatic events are the norm, presents a frighteningly dystopian vision . On the other hand there are great opportunities presented by becoming a world leader in green technologies.
Secondly there is a need for increased investment and reforms in education and research. I want to hear about how Australia can work smarter, not harder. I want to see leadership that can elevate our economy away from the easy and dirty resource based industries. And for me the obvious mechanism for such a change is education.
Finally Australia must engage in a discussion about health reform. As our tax base shrinks and our population ages, it is important to consider what we want from our health system and how we can pay for it. Universal health care is one of our greatest national achievements since Federation and it must be sustained into the future.
These are the issues that I hope cut through the personality contests and attack ads.These are the issues that need to be debated now as they will effect generations of Australians across the 21st century.
Andrew Campbell is a graduate in political science currently undertaking a Master’s degree in Commerce at the University of Western Australia. He has recently volunteered with Australia21 to ‘assist in broadening the public debate and putting the focus back on evidence-based policy’.