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  • Writer's pictureCaterina Sullivan

New Prime Minister who dis? - A Millennial's Perspective on the Most Recent Leadership Spill

Updated: Nov 4, 2018

Next month, I will be representing Australia at a global conference on reimagining humanity. This conference lines up with Global Goals Week, a week to celebrate the progress towards the United Nations' 17 Global Goals for Sustainable Development, also known as the Sustainable Development Goals or SDGs. All of this is happening during the United Nations General Assembly, making these couple of weeks the most exciting in the calendar when it comes to economic, social and environmental sustainability.

However, I am not looking forward to these coming weeks because I am embarrassed to be representing Australia. And I am embarrassed for a couple of reasons. The most notable reason is the fact that we, as a nation, are completely and utterly politically indecisive.

I have loved politics for as long as I can remember. I grew up in a time of political stability in our nation. John Howard became Prime Minister six months after I was born and remained in power until I was 12 years of age. All I knew growing up was a stable government with a strong economy and clear policies. Factionism didn't seem to be as evident in the Coalition, and people weren't holding anyone to ransom by throwing around threats of a "leadership spill". Sure, Howard made mistakes because he is a human being and whether you want to accept the fact or not, all human beings make mistakes. However, his leadership of a stable government allowed him to recover from said mistakes.

Instability in our government is not in the best interest of our nation. Previously, I have blamed social media for political instability with the rise of viral hate speech against Members of Parliament. For example, if you follow the #auspol hashtag on social media like I do, no doubt you would have seen a number of memes comparing Peter Dutton to a potato or even Lord Voldemort. While from time to time, I will admit to having ashamedly chuckled at such memes, this doesn't change the fact that they skim over a politician's actual policies, credibility and capability and target a superficial shortcoming or perceived shortcoming.

I stand by my viewpoint on social media and its shallow take on politics. However, there is a deeper issue with miseducation and, to some extent, total non-education around the Australian political system and current political issues.

The number of people I meet who say that they are not interested in politics because they cannot understand it astounds me, even as someone who now lives in Canberra. And I can completely understand why.

Politics is not taught in primary or secondary school the way it needs to be taught. It really needs to be brought to life. It can't be taught as some outdated system from 100 years ago. The passion needs to be brought back into politics because the more people understand politics, the better they will understand expectations of our leaders.

Yes, there's income inequality; there's gender discrimination; there's racial discrimination; there's obesity; there's diseases; there's climate change; there's the destruction of our ecosystem... there are all these problems stacking up, one on top of another. A quick glance over the 17 Global Goals and their associated 169 targets will show you that - everything we need to achieve in order to make our society economically, socially and environmentally sustainable by 2030. And then of course there is the question of overpopulation. And we currently live in a country where people lean as far left as Stalin and as far right as Hitler. We need to curb our expectations of our leaders to understand that they're dealing with literally hundreds of issues from viewpoints of every person across the nation. And then they have teammates who are trying to undermine what they are trying to do.

My heart bleeds for Malcolm Turnbull. I finally thought we would have political stability. Although he was scrutinised for his lavish lifestyle, his wealth came with benefits. Firstly, he knew how to make money, and he understood economic growth. And as important as it is to achieve social and environmental sustainability, we cannot make any progress towards our society or environment if we don't have any money. Secondly, Turnbull wasn't Prime Minister just for the money or for the perks. He has a beautiful family and doesn't need to be working to afford to live. He wasn't just in the job because he wanted the benefits of being Prime Minister because he would have less stress without the gig. He was in the job because he genuinely believed in getting our country back on track. Where he fell short was defeating factionism within the Coalition.

After this weekend, at the next election, it is highly likely that Labor will come to power. Many argue that this is a good thing because Labor has kept the same Leader and Deputy for the last five years. However, being in power is when a Party's stability comes undone. And I don't believe that either the Coalition or Labor will have stability until we, as a nation, become more educated about politics and more understanding that change cannot happen overnight.

We, both the voters and our elected representatives, need to trust our Prime Minister, the same way we did Howard and leaders before, to make the right decision. That doesn't mean we can't lobby and advocate for what we believe is right. It does mean, however, that we need to ensure we are communicating our beliefs and opinions to this nation's political leaders in a positive way which invites them to work with us, not against us.

This coup d'état mentality must stop. We all want a prosperous, peaceful nation for years into the future, right? So why aren't we all working together to achieve it?

I want to be able to go into next year's General Assembly, proud of what we have achieved over the past year to further our commitment to the Global Goals and to our economy, our society and our environment overall. I want to know that we are moving forward in a positive direction with a strong sense of purpose and a leader who isn't having to watch his back 24/7 and can just focus on making Australia the best version of herself she can be.

#politics #millennials #australia

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