3 tips for voting wisely on September 7

Australian politics both repulses and fascinates me. The depths to which human pride and desire can sink baffle me. I am disillusioned.

I am so confused about who to vote for. It seems like no matter if I look left, right, or right down the middle I see policies that anger and then sadden me, and people that frustrate me. I am persuaded of the good of democracy, even though it’s so far from perfect. I am used to using my vote to say ‘I choose you to represent me’. I hate that there’s no one that I want to choose in this election.

I’ve never been one of those people who always votes for the same party. Barring subconscious influences, I’ve never voted for a political party or member simply because that’s what my parents did. Independent thought was always encouraged in my house. After all, I never saw the appeal of blind loyalty to anything. Everything needs to be open to interrogation (thoughtfully of course).

I wonder whether you feel equally perplexed. If so, here are my 3 top tips for choosing who to vote for on September 7.

  1. Get informed. There are any number of policy comparisons out there. Try here, or here, or here. You won’t know what or who you like (or don’t) if you don’t do even a little bit of reading. These guides distill a lot of information into digestible chunks.
  2. Decide what you’re going to be passionate about. It’s difficult to be passionate about refugees and asylum seekers and bioethics and ageing and the economy and education and disability and climate change and foreign aid and industrial relations and health and defence. But you can choose one of these issues and care deeply about that. If you are a Christian, you can think about how knowing God changes your approach to the issue.
  3. Choose who you would NOT like to be in power for the next four years. When you get into the polling booth, put them last and then work backwards. If under normal circumstances you would start with number 1, try reversing the process this time.

This pains me. I want to look at the political options out there and see one that I like. But I don’t. So this year I’m going to use my vote to exclude the parties that I desperately DO NOT want to be in power. Instead of saying ‘yes’ to a particular party, this time I am planning on saying ‘no’ to one.

Even though I care deeply about responsible voting, I cannot envisage a good outcome from the election. It seems like no matter what happens I am going to be unhappy. This is why I’m even more glad for this wisdom from the Apostle Paul:

First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way (1 Tim 2:1-2).

So I will be informed. I will choose what issues I care about. I will vote against people and parties. And I will pray.


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