Young people are still earnest and active

Simon Copland writes: Re. “ACT poll malaise: ‘I am just not interested in voting” (yesterday). Conor Hickey’s piece yesterday raised a really serious issue of voter malaise, particularly in young people. It’s a serious issue that we need to do more to address.

Despite this however, I think it is important not to forget that while, yes, there are many young people who are disengaged, on the other side of the ledger, it is often young people who are the most engaged. As an active member of the Greens for example, I can just look at our party to see a very active group of young people engaged in ACT politics. To start with the Greens are running four candidates who are in their twenties (James Higgins, Adriana Siddle, Jonathan Davis and Ben Murphy). These friends of mine (including my partner James) are in my opinion intelligent, engaged and great candidates for the party. Beyond that, if you were to ever walk into the Greens office at any point of time you would see a space full of young people working their guts out for the campaign. Everywhere you go in the ACT Greens you see young people working hard.

But it’s not just the Greens who are like this. Across the aisle in the ALP, many of my mates in their twenties and thirties are working hard on not just this campaign, but many others like it. A quick look over any of the ALP’s Facebook pages and you will see photo after photo of young people out on the hustings. While I don’t know as many people in the Liberal Party, I have been told that the trend continues there. Young people have made up a significant number of their volunteers at stalls and other campaign activities throughout the past year. There are other young candidates as well. For example, another friend of mine, Trisha Jha, who is again in her twenties, is running for the Liberal Democratic Party in the seat of Molonglo. These are just some of the examples of the engagement of young people I can think of off the top of my head.

Often when we talk about young people’s “voter malaise” we treat it as if it’s a pattern; as if no young people at all care about politics. Yes, there are many young people who aren’t engaged, but if you look a little deeper you find that there are also many young people who are heavily involved in every element of the ACT election, and politics in general. Just the fact that Next ACT is a (fantastic) University of Canberra journalism student project shows how heavily engaged many young people are in the political process.

Wherever you look you can see that young people are there, we’re active, and we’re politically engaged.

Armstrong is a dope

Matthew Brennan writes: Re. Crikey says: Armstrong and ‘Ranny’ break up” (October 15). Crikey’s editorial about Lance Armstrong’s doping and cheating seemed to have passed without comment which surprises me. I can’t be the only subscriber who also happens to be a middle aged man in lycra. The media chorus of outrage about Lance Armstrong’s doping has rather missed the obvious. Typical. After a long and costly investigation by the US anti-doping agency what we have learnt is that the USPS cycling team (and it would had to have been the whole team) actually got away with doping at the time and only got caught after a long and costly investigation by the US anti-doping agency. Indeed it would seem that the final proof only came to light, when six years after the event, a number of former team members were pressured into admitting that doping was happening six or more years before.

What has this investigation actually cost? Cast your eye (without naming names) over the number of winners or potential winners of the Tour de France over the last 15 years who have been done for doping. And it seems to be the norm now that that one or two dopes get sent home in disgrace every Tour these days and it is common that one is the promising young fellow that was making name for himself in the Tour the year before. If not the organiser’s media spin merchants usually dismiss the miscreant as a “minor rider” (on the Tour de France?).

Does this happen on the Giro? Who will it be in 2013? Should I take book? Can I have some too? More particularly would someone tap the UCI on the shoulder and ask them to be honest and say just how widespread doping in professional cycling really is, if banning doping is working or indeed if the ban is really enforceable in any practical sense. I know what I think!

Politics today

Grant Corderoy writes: Clearly our politicians of all persuasions are incapable of mending their ways. Less than one week has elapsed since the respective “crocodile tears” were shed expressing regret at the personal vindictive aimed at each other, and where are we now — all and sundry from the Liberals lining up to further attack Craig Thomson, Milne having an “each way bet” and personally criticising both party leaders; Bowen claiming Abbot is “a lion in Canberra and a mouse in Indonesia” and to complete the fine example set by these “representatives,” the Prime Minister accusing Abbott of “not having the guts”. Shame on you all. Our wonderful country deserves much better than this collectively immature rabble.

Peter Fray

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