So the Federal election is this Saturday, according to the menacing commercials that have been blasting me in the ad breaks of The X Factor. Exciting stuff.
If you're voting for the first time, congratulations! You'll get to engage in the age-old democratic tradition of lining up at your old primary school, casting your ballot, and spending $5 on a hotdog and a lukewarm can of Solo. For those too young to vote: don't worry, you're still allowed to attend the sausage sizzle. (For an awesome list of all the sausage sizzles and cake stalls happening on September 7, check out this map).
Real talk though: this election campaign has been a real snore-fest, hasn't it? Like a lot of young people, I am feeling disillusioned and turned off from politics.So I'm not leaving it up to the politicians to change my world for the better and have resolved to take matters into my own hands and volunteer in the areas that matter to me.
If you're feeling let down by this election campaign – or you're not old enough to cast a vote yet - why not join me and make a difference as a volunteer? You might like to use these areas as a starting point:
Animals and the Environment The Labor party have cut $213 million from the Biodiversity Fund, and the Coalition are planning to repeal the Carbon Tax if they are elected. It could be a grim time for the environment after this weekend. Why not check out the awesome folks at Conservation Volunteers Australia or BirdLife Australia to see how you can do your bit to help the environment?
Asylum Seekers and Refugees With both major parties supporting offshore detention, do something productive by lending a hand at the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre or Welcome to Australia.
Disability This is less grim, with both parties supporting DisabilityCare (also known as the National Disability Insurance Scheme or NDIS). You can still contribute by joining an organisation like Scope.
Foreign Affairs and Aid The Coalition are planning to cut aid funding by 4.5billion over 5 years. This is a huge decision, when you consider that more than one billion people live in extreme poverty worldwide. To take action, check out The Oaktree Foundation, led entirely by young people who want to make a difference for people living in extreme poverty.
Marriage Equality and Sexuality The Labor party have pledged to support marriage equality, whereas the Liberal party have not, so this one is 50/50. Even if Australia does get equal marriage, GLBTQ people still face bullying and discrimination every day. Do your part by volunteering with Australian Marriage Equality or Minus18.
Please note: these views are my personal opinion, and do not reflect any official views held by YPWB or FYA.