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A State of Ignorance

It scares me how many people living within our society are ignorant of the most simple things. Sometimes the ones who are supposed to be the most switched on are the most brainless of the lot.

Case in point. I was sitting down having lunch one day last year at university, a place where I have often heard that you will find intelligent, meaningful discussions and so forth. Sadly  this wasn’t the case on this day. I happened to be within earshot of three girls who went about discussing their courses etc etc. Not that I was eavesdropping of course. Then the conversation turned to politics.

“How old do you have to be to vote?” one of them asked curiously, “Eighteen right?”

This girl had obviously graduated high school, gotten into uni and had possibly passed a few courses …. All without knowing what the voting age was in Australia. Excuse me if you disagree with me here, but I think that being slightly aware of how the political system works within your own country might be knowledge worth having.

Unfortunately however, politics simply seems to be a grey area in the lives of many Australians… only a small blip on the radar.

I once dated a guy who wasn’t enrolled to vote, despite having been able to for the last couple of years. Now, I’m not knocking the great Australian right to be lazy, but it irritated me to no end hearing his disapproval of my voting choices. Pardon me, I felt like saying, you could have used your opinion to vote, instead of just giving me shit about my choices.

It seems like politics is an area that many people of my generation choose to ignore. Even I have to admit to sometimes feeling apathy towards politics, but it’s nice to at least know what’s going on.

In France, the attitude to politics is a more incendiary one. If the French people don’t like something, they protest. Loudly. Often with riots. Not to say that riots are a good thing, but the fact remains that their approach often gets action. In 2006, new workplace laws making it easier to fire workers were altered in France after a series of organised demonstrations across the country. At around about the same time, I seem to recall people whinging in Australia about workplace laws, without actually doing anything more.  Perhaps it’s time to ask if Australians need to take a greater interest in politics, if only to ensure that they can get the say that they deserve.

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