Dickbag Politicians, budgets and the 20-something Student

I’m not sure if you’ve heard, but the budgets out, and it’s pretty much a big deal. I think… anyway. Well, actually, I’m not really sure.

For my entire teenaged-life politics was this distant concept of men and women in ugly suits discussing boring topics and talking in confusing jargon. I think back to my adolescence, and I instantly start mumbling the “you and Brendon Nelson” song from Rove, I picture “Kevin 07” posters and hear “a fair shake of the sauce bottle” sound bites. I replay John Howard jumping up from the couch when we won some obscure soccer match and I think of all those Q&A programs that played in the background of my childhood that always revolved around those pesky asylum seekers and “the boat people”.

The more I’ve studied politics (at High School and at University) the more I’ve hated it. Is hate a strong enough word? More like despised it. The more I know, the more disheartened I have become that our political system has any real potential in bringing about meaningful change for the Australian public. To say that I loathe political conversations isn’t inaccurate. I have long wished that politics didn’t concern me in any way, and that I could float through life completely untangled from the sticky, icky web that is the Australian political world.

Despite my Mother being a Labor Party member/feisty lefty practically since the day she drew her first breath, I have followed my Father’s footsteps and remained too disgruntled to align with either side.

Left? Right? Middle? How about not even on the scale and probably off somewhere doodling moustaches on the politicians on the cover of the Sunday newspaper?

Last year I scribbled in my own box on my federal election ballot slip and informally voted for the ‘Free Pizza Party (FPP)’ because I literally could not see the point in voting for the dickbag from the blue team over the douche in red. Why choose? Both have shown that they fail to deliver on their promises. Both have already made a spectacle of the refugee issue. Both continue to use the same petty antics to ‘one-up’ the other. Both manipulate situations and people to meet personal and political objectives.

So in such a toxic environment, I chose not to vote at all. In my mind, contributing to the growing number of people who refuse to pick a side and vote informally speaks a whole lot louder than a vote for either party ever could.

But now I find myself reassessing my attitude towards Australian politics. I am 20 years old, paying taxes, paying for my own education, and no longer able to swiftly switch the radio station when Amelia Marshall (news reader for Triple J and seemingly all-round top chick) tells me that from 2016, my University fees will dramatically increase due to the new Liberal Party budget.

My chest tightens when I hear that education will far less accessible to the lower/middle class. News that pensioners and the health-sector will also feel the squeeze isn’t all too settling, either.

Knowing that more funding is being poured towards the Australian Fighter Jet Fund (not actual name, sense sarcasm)… definitely not helping. Breathing difficult… may pass out.

I’m the first to admit that I don’t know everything about the new budget, or about Australian politics. But I can tell you something – I am now making it my business and my job to know. I may hate the subject in its entirety, but I am now at the stage in my life where I can no longer turn away, hum to myself and drown out the noise – I don’t care how many mind-numbing eps of Q&A it takes. (I actually do care, can someone please make an equally comedic and informative podcast that I can just download and listen to one time please?)

Education should be for all – it should be accessible and it should not play favourites to the Toorak-teens who get proper fat-stacks from Mum and Dad. If you’re the kid who has never experienced the sheer adrenaline rush that comes from surviving off $10 for an entire week awaiting payday because Mummy and Daddy covered for your textbooks, and phone, and oh wait, your entire life… I’m pointing the finger at you. You suck, give me $10 and feed me because I’m most likely living off expired packets of Mi Goreng I found at the back of my pantry.

That’s all for now – better go make some money, them University courses ain’t gonna pay for themselves!

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