Taking our seat

From a country with a political culture stuck in the 1990s, now we need to move in the 21st century, to an age where it doesn’t matter which social class one comes from

The political landscape is changing. Politicians too are changing – and we can see an increase in young candidates and women candidates putting themselves forward. 

In fact, this election has the potential to dramatically shift what our House of Representatives looks like. There is no longer an “ideal” politician, but rather people from all walks of life entering the political sphere, with different voices, and different experiences. People you can relate with. Hopefully, Parliament will start to see a glimpse of balance that we could only dream of a decade ago. 

More than ever, I think that this is a change that we desperately need, and there’s no better time than the present to achieve that change. 

I’m not talking solely about balance in terms of characteristics of age, gender, and social background – but in ideals too. 

This generation grew up environmentally-conscious, with the belief that economic progression and prosperity can coexist with the preservation of our physical environment; that work-life balance is not just a buzzword but a crucial part of everyday life; that mental health is just as important as physical health and the impact that one can have on the other.  

We have grown up with these principles, with concepts such as sustainability and sustainable living, ingrained into us. We have been through a recession and a pandemic in under three decades, and we are still excited about politics. 

We’re fully aware of the gaps in our educational system, but we’re also digital natives. Digital natives able to gain the answer to any question with a few taps of a button.  

The democratisation of knowledge meant that we could learn anything and everything whenever we wanted to. And this access to information has enabled us to picture a way that things can be done differently, better even. 

Increasing knowledge and access to information have led us to believe that it’s not enough to have numbers in parliament. What we really want is a seat at the table. Let’s look beyond the quota, in fact, to a time when we won’t even need it. 

“But why have you put yourself forward as a candidate, when local politics is this cynical?”  

I’ve often been asked. The cynicism of local politics has in fact been a major reason as to why I’ve decided to contest the next election. I believe that politics can be more, and it can do more. In simple terms, I believe that the ideas that have transformed our youth, now also need to transform our politics. 

From a country with a political culture stuck in the 1990s, now we need to move in the 21st century, to an age where it doesn’t matter which social class one comes from. To an age when getting the support of big businessmen is seen as the least of one’s priorities. To an age when the protection of the environment and increasing connectivity are guaranteed for all. 

Maybe we are the generation that is always wanting more, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. When I talk to other young candidates, the feeling is mutual, we are impatient for change. We want to move things along; we are excited for what the future could look like. We have been offered a chair, but we are taking a seat at the table.