CLANCY OVERELL | Editor | CONTACT
The Liberal Party ‘Don’t Know, Vote No’ campaign, which is aimed at confusing and frustrating older voters who haven’t been able to educate themselves on the upcoming referendum through talkback radio or Sky News, does not appear to be working on young people.
This is a surprise for the conservative political class, who’d just assumed most voters would do as they were told by the Murdoch and Costello newspapers, who make up the majority of Australian media landscape and have decided every election result up until the pandemic.
One of these younger voters, Bella Houseplant (32) is going to Vote Yes to an Indigenous Voice for no reason other than the fact that it’s an opportunity for her to reclaim power from the conservative political class that have robbed her of any form of social or financial mobility.
In Australia, the previous three generations before Bella – the silent generation, the baby boomers and generation X – were also inclined to vote for social change when they were young. These patterns usually changed when voters get their hands on some assets. Namely, a house, or a nice car – or an expensive model train collection.
However, with very few Australians under forty looking like they’ll be able to buy a home without the humiliation of asking their parents for help, it seems millennials are content with voting for whatever is making life easier for those doing it tough. And making life hard for is making it tough for them.
This concerning trend of solidarity has already rattled the major parties – with six teal independents and four Greens MPs elected into Parliament last election – snatching once blue ribbon Liberal seats from the weakened wrinkly hands of the baby boomers who have traditionally dominated politics.
With younger Australians no longer getting their news from the media publications that only exist to spout conservative propaganda and publicise unattainable property listings, it seems that people like Bella are even difficult to poll for political opinions.
Between her 12 hour shits as an ER nurse, and sharing Netflix passwords to watch that documentary about Posh Spice’s husband, Bella is only really learning about the referendum from the Indigenous patients she is treating for a whole range of preventable illnesses that cause a 10-year life expectancy gap between First Nations people and the rest of the country.
“Why wouldn’t I vote Yes?” she asks.
“It’s not like an Indigenous Advisory Body is gonna cost me as much as Scott Morrison’s decision to secretly re-index my HECs debt in his final budget?”
“Personally, I don’t think changing the constitution to include the existence and experiences of Indigenous people will change anything for me.”
“I’m still paying my landlords entire mortgage repayments just to secure a bed in a 5 person share-house within a 45 minute commute of my work”