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Profile of a first-time voter

Alexander Turnbull of Darlington, a first-time voter in this year’s federal election, has been waiting to play his part in the democratic process since he was six years old. One of his earliest memories is feeling distraught following the 1996 election. He remembers crying and asking his parents, “Where is Mr Keating going to live?” reports Andrew Collis in the December 2007 edition of the South Sydney Herald.

1. As a first-time voter, how did you find the election campaign? 
Which issues seemed to dominate? Which were not discussed adequately?

It seemed to me that the election was mainly an exercise in Rudd convincing the Australian people that he was just as bland, conservative and economically unconcerned with anyone who wasn’t of the middle class as is Howard. He seemed to leave Gillard to do most of the actual leg work on Work Choices.

In terms of what was left out, everything and nothing. Everything came up and then both candidates agreed, Howard trying to insinuate that Rudd did not in fact agree and then they went back to their own well-crafted political narratives. The only thing that was totally excluded was any mention of changing the Constitution so our federal system works.

2. Which were the main issues of concern for you?

Coming right out of school and facing a move to another city to get into uni, a few issues that I have not had to think about have come up, and others have stayed the same. At the end of the day I’m primarily concerned with Aboriginal affairs, housing, industrial relations, education and reform of the Constitution.

3. Approaching the polling booth, how did you feel?

To be honest I was a little bit distracted by being back at my primary school. Also, the great feeling that we might finally get to do over Howard.

4. Who did you vote for? Preferences?

The Greens then Socialist Alliance in the Senate filtering back to Labor. The Greens then ALP in the House of Representatives.

Photo: Andrew Collis: Alexander Turnbull outside the Darlington Public School polling booth

Source: South Sydney Herald December 2007