'Your vote matters. No matter how many times you hear that, it doesn't stop being true.'

I can’t remember a more subdued, unenthused, dispassionate and dull election campaign as the one we are living through right now.

People really do seem to have completely given up on it. Even the Government seems to have given up, launching their campaign with the slogan: Stick to the plan.

As someone commented on that echo chamber of modern life, Twitter, that’s something the bank robbers say halfway through the heist when things start to go wrong.

So why, if even the people in power can’t give us a reason to get excited, should we?

The answer is equal parts dull and worthy, but bear with me.

We should get excited because every vote matters, and no matter how many times you hear that, it doesn’t stop being true.

It’s very possible this is the best thing to come out of the election so far. (Post continues after video…)

Video via GetUp!

Last week voters in the United Kingdom chose to leave the European Union. The Brexit result was a shock to many, many people. And it divided the UK along some very traditional lines.

London wanted to remain. Scotland wanted to remain. Northern Ireland wanted to remain. Young people wanted to remain. But the majority of England and Wales wanted to get out, and in the end that sentiment prevailed.

In the aftermath of the vote one sentiment stood out as shocking. The people who were quoted saying: “If I knew it would actually happen, I wouldn’t have voted to leave.”

It might seem like an eye-roll moment but it’s not.

People are pretty convinced these days that voting doesn’t achieve anything. In established, stable democracies like the United Kingdom and Australia, it can be hard to look at the various men in suits spouting slogans and think “that one piece of paper I stuffed in a ballot box made a difference”.

But it does matter. No, the Australian Labor Party and the Liberal Party are not the same. Yes, you can vote one for a minor party and your vote will still count (provided you number every other box on ballot).

Among young Brits who voted, the appetite to leave the EU wasn’t there. 75 per cent of them voted to remain. Which is a powerful number.

But here’s the kicker. Turnout among young voters was far lower than among the older voters who wanted to get out of the EU.

No, the Australian Labor Party and the Liberal party are not the same. (Image: Twitter)

One example: Some 15,000 people attending the Glastonbury Festival said they wanted to vote to remain in Europe, but hadn't done so. They just let it slide and went to a festival instead.


Decisions are made by those who show up. If you don't show up, then you don't get to be annoyed about the outcome. The Brexit vote is a great example of that. There were 46 million eligible voters in that referendum. Only 34 million-odd votes were cast.

The margin of victory was slim. 52 per cent in favour, to 48 per cent against. All those people who stayed home had the power to completely change the outcome.

So yes, your vote does matter. It is valuable.

And if you don't do a little research and figure out which party best represents what you believe, then yes, you are to blame when decisions you don't like get made.

Democracy only works if we actually participate in it.

Does it sound to you like I am spouting a bunch of cliches? I am. It's true. But they are also true.

In Australia we have compulsory voting, but for the most part getting on the electoral roll is your responsibility. So there are a lot of Australians who will not be voting on Saturday, even though they are eligible to.

The AEC estimates around one million Australians who are eligible to vote are not on the roll.

One million votes can change an election, but those people will not have a chance to change anything this time.

 One million votes can change an election, but those people will not have a chance to change anything this time. (Image: Facebook)

At the 2013 federal election, 5.9 per cent of voters nationally cast an informal ballot.

That amounted to 475,293 wasted votes.

I don't want to hit you over the head with numbers. But I do want to make this very clear. When you choose not to enroll to vote, or not to cast a valid vote, you are choosing not to make change and influence how our society works.

Because there is a direct and very real relationship between votes and decisions.

That's how it works.

If you choose to sit it out don't ever complain that nothing changes, everyone is the same, politicians don't listen.

They do listen. They listen frantically and constantly in an attempt to figure out how to get you to vote for them.

If you don't use your voice and your power at the ballot box, then no, they won't change.

This Saturday you get to decide our country's future. That's the truth about voting.

So don't waste your vote. It matters. It's important. It means something.

00:00 / ???