Sydney master’s student Howard* can’t lie – he is excited to be able to vote in tomorrow’s New South Wales election and celebrate with a “democracy sausage.”
As a keen Christian and politics watcher, Howard, aged 22, is a swing voter, basing his electoral choices on which party and candidate best reflect biblical principles.
“Is this policy that this candidate is pitching a loving policy?”
“I don’t think the Bible gives us a succinct ‘you should vote for this candidate’ … but I do think there are certain issues the Bible speaks clearly about,” Howard tells Eternity.
“A lot of it talks about love for one another and so thinking about ‘is this policy that this candidate is pitching a loving policy, will it better our society or do I think it will benefit only a few members of society?”
While he recognises that neither side of politics, either Left or Right, is especially Christian or aligned with the Bible, Howard values the privilege of voicing his opinion and making an informed decision as a good citizen.
He spent a long time researching candidates in his area of western Sydney at the last state election in 2015 and decided to vote Liberal.
“At that time, I was in western Sydney and going out sometimes you felt unsafe, so safety was my chief priority with that. At the time I thought the lockout laws were quite a good thing. I disagree with that now. But I thought this Liberal government is going to keep me safe and they made a lot of promises to do with transportation – I thought connecting western Sydney with the rest of Sydney would be fantastic.”
“I want my vote to show how best we can love the western Sydney populace.”
Since then, Howard has changed his mind about the lockout laws, after discovering that they skirt the casino and that while violence has got down in the Kings Cross area it has increased around the casino. Tomorrow morning he intends to vote Labor.
“I want my vote to show how best we can love the western Sydney populace. I think there’s been a bit of overdevelopment as well as some wasteful spending, the stadium being rebuilt. With infrastructure, some of it has been well invested – like, I think the metro line is quite good – but a lot of it has been, I think, wasted money that could have been better spent on funding for hospitals, for example, which I think are understaffed.”
“The current government both in state and federal level haven’t done a good enough job in protecting our environment.”
One of the key issues for Howard at both state and federal level is the environment.
“From a biblical perspective, I believe that God has given us the mandate to look after our world. In Genesis he gives us lordship over it, and I believe he wants us to look after the planet and I think the current government both in state and federal level haven’t done a good enough job in protecting our environment, the creation that God has given us.”
Howard was shocked to discover there was no mention of climate change in the state Liberal Party’s policy on the environment.
“The Bible is clear that the widows, the aliens or foreigners and the poor, they are the people that we need to be looking after.”
While Howard voted both Liberal and Labor in the last federal election in 2016 (Liberal in the House of Representatives and Labor in the Senate) he is considering voting Labor in both houses the upcoming federal election because of the party’s more progressive policies on climate change and immigration policy.
“I think the Bible is clear that the widows, the aliens or foreigners and the poor, they are the people that we need to be looking after and I think a lot of the asylum-seekers come under two or even three of those categories,” he says.
“I would love if there was a way in which we could vote on issues ourselves.”
While his heart for social justice places him on the Left of the political spectrum, Justin says voting Labor entails voting for policies that he disagrees with, such as more liberal abortion laws and opposition to Scripture in schools.
“I serve in a kids club at my local church and I get to share the gospel with kids, which is fantastic, but you can definitely see that Scripture makes a difference in these kids’ lives, so I’m very pro-that, and I know in NSW it’s enshrined in our legislation, whereas there are other states like Victoria it’s got less support and been dismantled a bit,” he says.
“I would love if there was a way in which we could vote on issues ourselves rather than our politicians voting for us. That way we could vote pro asylum-seeker but also pro-life.”
*a pseudonym was requested for this story