Federal Election campaign begins at UTAS

1, 2, 3, 4… who knew numbers could be so powerful?

The decision that Australians are about to make will shape our future as a nation, and it comes down to the numbers we put next to names on a piece of paper. Australians will go to the polls for the Federal Election on May 18 and this is a chance for your voice to be heard.

All 151 seats in the House of Representatives in Canberra are up for grabs, and five of those seats are in Tasmania. In addition, voters will elect half of the country’s Senate, with six coming from our state.

Tasmania is divided into five electorates, with one politician representing us per electorate, while 12 senators represent our state federally.

Currently, the Australian Labor Party holds Braddon, Bass, Lyons and Franklin, with Independent Andrew Wilkie holding the electorate of Clark, formally Denison.

In the Senate, Liberal Richard Colbeck, Labor’s Lisa Singh, Carol Brown and Catryna Bilyk, Green Nick McKim and the National’s Steve Martin are seeking re-election.

Some familiar faces will also be hoping the people of Tasmania vote for them, with former senator Jacqui Lambie aiming to make a return to the senate.

Former Tasmania University Union Societies President, Claire Chandler is running as part of the Liberal’s senate ticket, hoping to unseat one of the state’s existing senators.

Labor’s Lisa Singh is facing an uphill battle, after being pushed to fourth position on her party’s ticket. She will rely on below-the-line votes to get her elected.

The campaign has been building on University of Tasmania campuses.

Vice President of the UTAS Liberal Club Thomas Bearman told Togatus the three key issues in this election are the economy, jobs and border security.

In contrast, President of the UTAS Labor Society Benjamin Dudman said climate change, health and jobs and training were the key issues on his party’s agenda.

Mr Bearman said young Tasmanians have a stark choice when it comes to polling day.

“[Voters have a choice] between a Morrison government, which is working to keep our economy strong and deliver greater opportunities to young Tasmanians including creating more jobs and providing more affordable housing,” he said.

“Bill Shorten and Labor, whose plan would increase rents, cut jobs and risk a weaker economy that would effect our ability to fund essential services, like schools and hospitals.”

Mr Dudman had a different view, and highlighted the importance of Tasmanians engaging in politics.

“We will inherit the decisions being made right now. It’s our future and we need to ensure we have a say in what’s at stake,” he said.

“This election is going to be the best opportunity we have to ensure youth issues are put at the forefront of politics. Every vote counts, it always does. So we need to ensure the youth vote kicks out the conservatives and gets progressive people into parliament.”

Voting is compulsory and is easier than you might think.

  1. Enrol to vote by Thursday April 18 and have your say at aec.gov.au/enrol
  2. If you’ve recently moved you’ll need to update your address at aec.gov.au/enrol/change-address.htm
  3. Check your enrolment to see which electorate you will be voting at check.aec.gov.au
  4. Vote!

Choose wisely, as the elected members will represent you for the next three years in the House of Reps and six in the Senate. Don’t waste the power of your numbers.

This article is featured in Edition 1 of Togatus.

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