My Australia: Episode 14 - Part 1

Uploaded by australianetwork on 22.03.2011

Hello, I'm Vijay Khurana.
Welcome to My Australia, the show about people from overseas having Australian experiences.
Coming up today
Ken gets involved in politics on state election day,
Michelle volunteers for an animal welfare organisation
and Raymund goes to a trash and treasure market.
Now in Australia it's compulsory to vote which means that a state election day is pretty
busy for everyone.
And Ken's getting involved by volunteering for a political party.
My name is Ken Matahari. I'm from Indonesia.
I was born in a city called Yogyakarta in Indonesia.
It's kind of similar with Adelaide because its very small and it's cultural.
It's very different from say Sydney or Melbourne.
I came to Australia two years ago as an exchange student for a year.
Then I decided to transfer my whole degree to Flinders University in Australia.
I'm doing Bachelor of International Studies, majoring in International Relations and Development
I live on campus with four other people
so one Canadian, one Japanese, one Australian Filipino, one Australian.
So yeah, living on campus is really convenient.
At the same time, it's also enjoyable because I live with people from all different cultural
My mum is Chinese Indonesian and my Dad is Indonesian so even within my family we have
cultural diversity so I'm very used to it
and when I came to Australia the diversity was even more stark because people come from
all over the world
and at some points you might feel that it is not easy to relate to people from different
but what I found really helpful was just being out there and try different things and not
feeling afraid or anxious about anything.
So just be open for any possibility.
Okay, so today I'm helping with state election day.
Basically wearing this green shirt because I'm helping with the Green party and generally
I'm here also to learn the whole voting process.
Because this is going to be my first election in my life too.
I haven't done any elections in my life before, even when I was in Indonesia.
So yes, I've done politics theoretically but I have no idea how it is practised in real
So this is gonna be great.
Okay, today our job's pretty simple.
We're handing out these how to vote cards to voters.
Uh huh. Yep.
And essentially these cards explain to the voters, if they want to vote for Greens,
how they can do it.
And we've just got to try and convince as many people as possible to do that.
I'm feeling a bit anxious because I don't know whether I will learn fast the whole system
or not, but yeah, I'll give it a shot.
So how do we give this?
Just, greeting the people and then explain the policy or how?
Yeah, just greeting the people and just, you know, ask them if they would like to vote
or maybe if they're interested in any one of the Greens policies, like social justice.
Hello, Green Party.
Well, I picked the Green because of its progressive policy.
The Greens advocates for social justice which I personally identify with.
And I like how the Greens try to also, defend the rights of minority groups.
The Greens?
Oh, no, I've got a Green.
Ah, thank you.
Hang on, I'll grab one of them too.
Thank you.
I guess all the parties congregate outside and try and get those last minute votes where,
if this voter's undecided maybe you can get them to change their mind because, in the
end every vote counts
and this is such a close election that it really does.
In South Australia there are about forty eight different seats.
It's called a seat I suppose because it represents a seat in parliament where a representative
for that area sits.
So, people who live in that area have the opportunity to vote for who's going to fill
that seat, if you like.
I have never found myself so curious about politics, except on this day.
I don't know why because probably I'm surrounded by politically aware people so I can ask any
question about politics.
Where does the Greens - what's their views about disability?
I heard you said something about social justice.
Yeah, yeah.
So does that incorporate people with disabilities as well?
Yes, I think so. I'm not sure about the details but I've read briefly that they're also interested
to advance the interests of people with disability.
Certainly, yeah because what we've noticed is how vulnerable people are.
I personally have a son who has just got off the waiting list for a wheelchair
but it was two and half years before he got his wheelchair and we don't get any respite
To us it's a really important issue.
Yes, certainly.
It makes all of these processes more relevant, of voting and how election relates to daily
lives of people
but now that there is someone coming up to me, saying that she's got a child that has
and that's why she's voting for this Dignity For Disability Party, I can know how people
vote because of their personal circumstance or their family circumstance.
I've learned that politics in Australia is slightly different from politics in my country
because people have to vote here.
If they don't vote they will get fined.
That's probably why a lot of people in Australia have to be politically conscious and have
to be politically aware and get involved in domestic politics.
I am curious to see the voting room.
I have no idea what people do inside the voting room but I heard it's pretty secretive so
yeah, I'm looking forward to finding out what's going to happen there.
So this is the place where people come in to fill out their ballot paper and then submit
their ballot paper so this is really, really important.
After the polls close they will start collecting all the ballot paper and secure them in a
safe place and then they'll start counting.
I'm wearing this shirt because, yes, it is new but it's not because of that,
because I'm not allowed to wear any partisan outfits and it is because I guess the place
put their votes
so you're not allowed to do campaigning in this room.
Now it's 6 o'clock and everything's finished.
Oh, nice.
Yep, so we'll just pack up our bits and pieces and then we're going to head to the after
party where all the volunteers and candidates for the seats that we've been voting on ...
They're gonna be there and we're just gonna enjoy a bit of celebration and hopefully someone
gets up and into Parliament.
So what's happening on the screen?
They're reporting the count so far.
So far the Greens are looking, they're doing a pretty good result.
So our hard work hasn't gone to waste.
There's a lot of postal votes have to come in. And they count the postal votes last so..
Is it usually ...
It's really good. It's 18%, it's almost better than Labor.
Oh wow.
I'm here as a part of the Greens Party.
I'm the Australian Greens candidate for Norwood and this is our celebration of all of the
effort that we've put in today.
I haven't done any election in my life.
Oh, okay.
This is the first election.
Even though I can't vote I see the whole proces,.
nut by doing the how to votes, that means that you can ...
be more aware
get your opinion out there, get your say out there which is really important as well.
Oh great, that's great.
Meeting the candidates was a very extraordinary experience because I finally get to know what
the party was all about,
not only from the big picture perspective but also from her individual perspective,
from her personal perspective.
By volunteering you might add up some additional one or two or three votes.
You might not think it is significant but if there are ten thousand people doing that
it is of course going to make a difference.
He's really been hands on and involved in the process and I think he's learned a lot
as well.
I think we had a lot of fun.
Look at this here behind me.
There are a lot of people having fun after doing all the hard work so it's been a bit
of both: serious thing but also fun at the same time.
So, I'm really grateful that I took this opportunity to attend an election day with the Greens.
That's Ken, getting some first hand experience with Australian politics.
Now I don't know about you but I love animals and animal welfare groups do a fantastic job
caring for animals in trouble and encouraging responsible pet ownership.
And Michelle is about to help out with one of them.