When I was pregnant with Dear Boy, I had an insane semester with a massive teaching load including a subject I'd never taught before, filling in for an academic on research leave. It was a 2nd year Communications and Media subject but with a primary theory that was deeply embedded in ideas of politics.
So we discussed politics in class.
And that scared the hell out of me.
I taught the course a year after a federal election, when most of these students had voted for the first time. I asked them what they knew of politics, their political beliefs, how they developed those beliefs and where their information about politics came from.
A much bigger percentage than I would have hoped admitted they just voted for who their parents voted for.
There was no - "oh we have a farm and the Nationals have always done well for us in our electorate" or "We're socially conservative so vote Liberal" or "Ethical treatment of refugees is one of my primary concerns and The Greens policy is the only one I've found that matches that" or "the workplace reforms of the previous Liberal government really hurt my family, so we vote Labor". None of that.
Most of the students had no clue what those parties stood for. Had no idea what their preferred party might do with our country if they came into power.
I am not normally a political animal but I know where the parties stand on the issues that are important to me. I know who the leaders are. And I know that I live in an incredibly safe Liberal seat where Labor and The Greens don't even bother putting up serious contenders. But I still vote and know who I'm voting for.
This year, I thought I'd get even more informed and see where I sit on a range of issues compared to the main parties, even the issues I don't particularly care about or impact on me and mine.
Enter the ABC's online Vote Compass where you answer questions in a dozen or so categories and find out how much you agree or disagree with the ALP, GRN and L/NP pollies. I also chose to weight the categories according to how much importance I place on them and got a slightly more detailed result (but it was essentially the same percentages).
So this is me. Apparently.
I don't think I've made any secret about my dislike of well... not the Liberal Party per se, but Tony Abbott. I would vote for a hell of a lot of other people before I'd give him my okay to be Prime Minister. I could probably even be convinced to vote Liberal if only they guaranteed Abbott wouldn't be PM (Malcolm, are you listening?).
Going through the results, though, and comparing my responses with where the parties sit, I was surprised by the overlap, not only between the Greens and Labor but also between the Liberal/National Party and the others on occasion. On a few questions, there we all were... piled together in a great big heap of agreement. Makes me wonder why more stuff doesn't get done about those issues when everyone is essentially on the same page.
I would love to get hold of those students now and make them take this quiz if only to learn something about their own government.
Where does your political compass point? Have you taken this quiz yet?