House debates

Thursday, 18 October 2018

Statements by Members

Australian Values Study

1:29 pm

Photo of Tim WattsTim Watts (Gellibrand, Australian Labor Party) Share this | | Hansard source

The Australian Values Study, released this week, found that one-third of Australians think it is good to 'have a strong leader who does not have to bother with parliament and elections'. Extraordinarily, over half of 30- to 34-year-olds also think this is a good thing. Now, on one level, I can sympathise. The Abbott-Turnbull-Morrison government has been terrible. Not only is it a running joke—eating raw onions, knighting princes, denying the law of mathematics and gratuitously insulting countries, seemingly at random, on a day-to-day basis—but it's also failed the big tests, the things that really matter over the long term: responding to the existential threat of climate change, properly funding our schools and hospitals and building a fairer economy in which all Australian workers can get a long-overdue pay rise.

But the great part of Australian democracy is that I can say all of these things about those opposite, in this place, without being scared of being tortured or having my family disappeared. Australian voters can say things like this without the fear of that too, and together we can try to fix it—to change a government and to elect MPs who will do a better job. Over decades, hundreds of thousands of people have fled their countries of birth, choosing to make Australia their new home, because they understand firsthand just how precious Australian democracy is. I say to all Australians, particularly young Australians: be angry—there's lots to be angry about—but don't give up on democracy. Speak out, organise, enrol, vote and fight to make our democracy live up to its promise.