As I venture to the kindergarten where I was educated nearly twenty years ago to cast my vote, I’ll reflect on the role education has had in my life. Moreover, I’ll take a moment to appreciate the modern marvel that is Australian democracy.
With the benefit of compulsory voting, Australia has one of the most stable and robust democracies on the face of the Earth. But it only preserves this status through an engaged citizenry; one that asks tough questions of its leaders and thinks carefully about the impact of their vote.
To achieve this, we as teachers need to play our role. No matter the result of this election it is our responsibility to engage our students in matters of politics and government and make the case for why they should get involved and vote with interest and enthusiasm.
As political commentator and Gold Logie Winner Waleed Aly said at the start of the campaign, “I don’t care who you vote for, just vote, because right now we only have a partial democracy. Let’s get a real one.”
Put another way, democracy is not a spectator sport. Every election is determined by the people who show up.