SATURDAY will mark an extra-special occasion for many of the city’s teenagers who have just this year enrolled to vote for the first time.
While some seasoned voters view casting their vote as more of a chore than a privilege, for one group of 18-year-olds it presents an opportunity to change the nation.
Marian Catholic College’s Georgia Gair, Kiara Donadel, Simone Amaro, David Power, Jake Alpen and Natalie Sartor will approach the ballot box for the first time with a mixture of excitement and nervous anticipation.
All enrolled to vote this year and the majority say they will be influenced largely by the media, followed by their families.
While Kiara says the experience will produce some nerves, she is grateful for the opportunity.
“It’s a bit overwhelming – it’s a big responsibility to know your one vote can change the whole outcome,” Kiara said.
“But it’s a privilege, you’re making an impact to your community and not just at a local level but also to the whole country.”
David said the campaigns presented by the major parties lacked long-term vision.
“The longer it goes on, the closer the two parties become on a lot of issues,” David said.
“That makes it very difficult for first time voters to actually split the two parties – there are no great overriding visions, they’re just looking for a simple fix.”
To those in the community who planned to cast a “donkey vote” the group stressed it was important not to waste the “valuable opportunity”.
“The idea that democracy should be a trial is ridiculous,” David said.
“People complain about it but some countries have fought hard for the right to vote.”
The students were particularly passionate about making sure local issues were represented and felt the government needed to improve its position on refugees.
“I personally think we should be embracing refugees, not rejecting them,” Georgia said.
“They’re just people looking for a better life.”
About two million Australians aged between 18 and 24 are eligible to vote, but 400,000 of them failed to enrol by the August 12 deadline.