Federal election: New voters have their say | Northern Beaches Review
Zoe Hudson, born in the UK for the first time, is so passionate about politics that she painted a “suspicious” portrait of Prime Minister Scott Morrison just to get people talking.
About 440,000 new Australian citizens will vote for the first time in this federal election, according to the Australian Election Commission.
Manly resident Ms Hudson, who became a citizen in March this year, admits she is surprised at the lack of interest in politics among many Australians.
In the UK, voting is voluntary, but she said many of her British friends were keen to have their say.
“Here it seems like people just have to do it,” she said. “I find that a bit disheartening, I would love for people to get engaged, even if they were just angry. It’s really important to me, I care a lot about voting.”
I wish people would get engaged, even if they were just angry.
Ms Hudson placed her portrait of Morrison on the streets of Manly to ‘get people talking’, and expected it to be defaced or stolen, but instead people just flipped it.
“It’s not a flattering painting, he looks suspicious, he has a sideways look,” she said. “I wanted to see if that would start a conversation.”
Ms Hudson’s Manly hairdresser, Unique Hair, even hung the portrait in the salon, but the only reaction he received was clients asking him to take it down.
Dee Why resident Ivana Hercekacova was born in the Czech Republic, where voting is also voluntary.
This will be the first election she will vote in after becoming a citizen in March, and she admits she hasn’t garnered much interest so far.
“I’m not very knowledgeable about the election and I’ll probably follow how my husband votes,” she said.
Despite her lack of commitment in this election, Ms. Hercekacova supports the idea of compulsory voting. “People can’t complain at the end of the day, they voted them out,” she said.
Australian-born Max Straetemans, 20, has a keen interest in politics and is looking forward to voting in his first federal election.
Although the Elanora Heights resident did not specify who he is voting for, he does know who he is not voting for.
“I like the politics of the candidate I’m interested in and I’m disappointed with the lack of action from our current MP and the party he represents,” he said.
Mr. Straetemans praised Mackellar’s independent candidate, Dr. Sophie Scamps, for her policies that appeal to young voters.
“I’ve never seen a candidate like her so proactive and I feel like she understands young people and their concerns,” he said.
Zoe Coles, is another Australian-born first-time voter, and she sought out the politicians amid sloganeering in her Mackellar constituency.
“I’m voting for independent Dr Sophie Scamps. I’m really sick of liberal inaction and interpreting it as disrespect for young people because it’s our future,” she said.
Ms Cole is so passionate about politics that she recently volunteered at the Dr Scamps rally in Avalon and registered to vote when she was 16.
“It was really hard being a young person and having all these decisions made for me,” she said.
- Pre-ballot voting is now open with locations in Brookvale, Manly, Terrey Hills and Warriewood.
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