Election day dread

Australians’ trust towards their politicians has hit an all-time low in lead up to the next federal election. 

Australia will go to the polls on May 18 and young people are calling to be heard and for the in-fighting to stop.

Photo: Amy Kennedy

One Nation’s candidate for Moore Tyler Walsh said a move away from major parties would not be surprising.

“Since a lot of damage has been done by the two major parties, it wouldn’t be surprising to see a significant swing against the majors at this year’s upcoming federal election,” Mr Walsh said. 

University of Western Australia senior lecturer Glenn Savage said Australians had held a longstanding scepticism towards their politicians however the last couple of years had seen this level of distrust increase.

“The last change in government in 2013 and the likely change coming at the next election, can in many ways be attributed to this lack of party discipline and direction and heightens this sense among voters that politicians often act in their own interest” he said.

Mr Savage said young people in Australia had grown up in a time where leadership uncertainty was the new normal. 

“There is no doubt that both Labor and the Coalition have failed to portray an image of stability,” he said.

“For a while a popular attack of the Coalition’s was the chopping and changing of leadership within Labor, now the Coalition is guilty of the same crime,” he said. 

University of New South Wales lecturer Mark Rolfe said: “Australians hold negative attitudes towards their politicians because it is embedded in our political DNA, in the very nature of our system and political culture since European settlement.

“Australians are prepared to believe the worst of politicians, each party accuses the others of lies, corruption and conspiracies, basically because they can profit from them,”

“Recent leadership spills have only heightened or brought forward these negative attitudes”.

Dr Rolfe said Australia needed to see a term or two of a competent government with parties that stood for something and would follow through on it. 

With school age young people able to vote in a few years Mr Savage said it would make a difference in federal politics.

“There is a sea change taking place, young people who have recently walked out of school and protested the lack of government action on climate change are sending messages to Canberra to stop the in-fighting and inaction,” he said.