Election 2016: Unimelb Presidents’ Pitches

So, after 8 weeks of gaffes, selfies and high-vis vests, the moment of truth has finally arrived. Tomorrow, Australians cast their vote to decide our political future (at least for the next few months, before our traditional mid-term ministerial mutiny).

Over the last 24 hours, ESSA has brought you comprehensive coverage on this election’s big issues. If you haven’t read our explainers, you can find them all here:

Still not sure how to vote? Perhaps it’s time to turn to advocates for the parties themselves. Despite our best efforts, we were unable to contact either Malcolm Turnbull or Bill Shorten to give us their pitches for the nation. Something about ‘being busy’ and it being ‘the night before the election’. Weird. So we’ve had to settle for the next best thing: the President of the Melbourne University Liberal Club, Andrew O’Shea, and the President of the University of Melbourne Labor Club, Joshua Rose. Here’s what they want you to know about why you should vote for the party they support.

Andrew O’Shea, President, Melbourne University Liberal Club

The 2016 Federal Election is now upon us, and over 15 million Australians will have made their voice heard by tomorrow night on the direction our country will head towards for the next three years. Elections are about choices, and the choice at the ballot box tomorrow could not be starker.

This election is about supporting a plan that drives jobs and growth for everyday Australians. It is about a plan that provides our small and medium business owners the tax relief they deserve, so that they can invest more capital in their business, helping increase wages and job opportunities for working Australians. It is about a plan that takes budget repair seriously, so that the Australian economy is future-proofed from external shocks abroad, and sustainably provides the services that we demand. Most importantly, this election is about electing a leader that understands the challenges we face as a nation, and has the answers to meet them.

Australians know that the challenges we face will not be addressed with more taxes, spending and regulation. We are nation that values egalitarianism, that does not pin rich against poor, or seeks to bring people down. Australians inherently encourage each other to aspire to be the best that we can be, and we reject interest group politics being placed above the national interest.

Australians before anything else, want certainty. In a time of global uncertainty, Australians can’t afford Bill Shorten and his Labor economic team that one minute supports cutting company tax and the next minute, they don’t. Australians can’t afford the uncertainty of not knowing what Labor will do on border security, especially when their own leadership team is internally divided on this matter. Australians can’t afford electing an opposition that opportunistically attacks savings to health, education and superannuation, and then accepts those exact same savings in their own budget bottom line. And finally, Australians can not afford electing a man in Bill Shorten, who is more focused on the machinations within his own party and the union movement, than governing in the national interest.

Australia is a lucky country. A country that has always made its own luck. We are enduring one of the longest periods of uninterrupted growth and prosperity the world has ever seen.  But we can not afford to put this to chance tomorrow. For these reasons, I ask my fellow Australians to vote for their local Liberal candidate tomorrow, to support the re-election of Malcolm Turnbull’s Coalition government.

Joshua Rose, President, University of Melbourne Labor Club

If you’re reading this you are a special type of person. In week 8 of the longest campaign in living memory you’re reading commentary form university political club presidents – you’re still interested, still listening. It may seem like the two major parties are the same and you may be jaded by what we’ve all just endured but be certain tomorrow’s result matters. When the dust settles on Saturday night and the dank memes disappear from our news feeds one of the two major parties will form government and take this country in one of two very different directions.

The plan I’m backing is the one put forward by Bill Shorten and Labor. I campaign for Labor Governments because I fundamentally believe that Governments should play a role in the creation and preservation of an egalitarian society. As a progressive I’m Labor because progressivism needs to be actioned. Progressivism is the relentless pursuit of a society that gives everyone the opportunities they deserve to achieve their aspirations and live with dignity.  You can only get to the light on the hill if you have your hand on the levers of Government.

The alternative is the Liberal Party’s intellectually bankrupt trickle down economic policies of Thatcher and Raegan. They make decisions on an ideology that has universally been panned by economists – the fact is, markets can and do fail and Governments have a responsibility to do something about it.  Their belief is that supporting the most vulnerable amongst us is tantamount to tearing down the wealthy – simply because they’re required to pay tax. For a party that says it’s about uncapping the potential of Australian’s it remains blind the simple fact that not all people start from the same position.

The world is more complex than the marketplace described in an Intro Micro textbook. In the real world people’s circumstances limit their ability to succeed.

If you suddenly become ill, are unable to work and have to pay exorbitant medical fees you are unable to reach your potential. If you’re a young person that doesn’t come from a wealthy family and you’re unable to save for a house deposit while paying off a $100,000 HECs debt you will not be able to buy a house and provide a stable base for your family. If you’re a Trans student suffering bullying because the people in your class are ignorant of queer issues, you’re more likely to suffer from mental illness and withdraw from society. If your job relies on tourism, the destruction of the climate will mean your job is at risk.  If you’re a student from a regional town that’s living in the city to be closer to Uni and you’re simultaneously unable to access rent assist and your weekend penalty rates have been cut, you will have to choose between meals and accommodation. If you’re a woman that’s paid less because you have children you aren’t going to be able to make the same investments your male counterparts will. In the interest of the word limit, imagine an example for the NBN.

I can go on, and on, and on, but the point is that the Labor party has a suite of policies designed to free people from the barriers imposed on them by the lottery of birth and support them as they reach their full potential. “Putting people first” is more than just a slogan, it’s a guiding philosophy. Objectively analysing the world and removing people’s obstacles to success is good public policy – ideological free market economic manifestoes are not.

The choice is simple at this election. Vote for a progressive government. Vote Labor.