It's been a few days since the lib spill, and now I've had a chance to rant and be angry I've decided to be productive instead. The following is a handy dandy guide to developing a political opinion. (I'm very sorry that I keep harping on about politics, but it's really important.)
I suppose the first point I would like to address is why it's important to have an opinion about politics. There are so many reasons, but by far the biggest reason is that our government (is supposed) to represent the people. If the people don't know/don't care about the government how are they (they being the government) supposed to represent us effectively?
The biggest step to forming a political opinion is to decide what you want to change about Australia, and what you want to stay the same.
The next step is finding out how each party aligns with your view. One of the easiest ways to do this is by using Vote Compass. Basically what this does is it breaks down the main policy points into a simple questionnaire, then compare your answers to the policies of the various political parties, then gives you this information on a handy dandy graph! Unfortunately it only updates close to an election, but if you're curious about how your views align with Australia's political parties, the Federal Vote compass from 2013 is a great place to start.
The other resource I like is They Vote for you . This site breaks down how each parliament member has voted for things throughout their political career (meaning you can really get into the nitty gritty of each member of parliament)
So, you've formed a political opinion. The next thing you have to do is get your voice heard. There are lots of ways you can do that such as writing to your Member of Parliment, writing a letter to the editor, engaging your friends and family in a friendly political debate or even starting a blog about politics. These are all great options, but there is one really powerful way you can get your voice heard, and that is by voting.
Now, voting in Australia can get pretty complicated. To win an election one party needs to get 51% of the votes, which is pretty tricky when there are more than two parties (which there are). To solve this conundrum we use a thing called preferential voting (Here's a handy dandy graph!) Basically there's a bunch of parties in Australia who would all like to run the government, but some of these parties are smaller than others.
Before the election, these parties sit down and decide who they would like to give their votes to if they don't get elected (Although, if you vote for a party and don't like their next preferred party, you can decide your own preference path at the polling booth). Starting with the guys who got the least amount of votes, and working there way up, the votes of the less voted for parties get given to other parties until someone has 51%. It's not a perfect system (but, lets be honest, there's no such thing as a perfect system). I can remember some election where more people voted for one party, but the other one was elected because of how the preferences transferred.
On top of this, there are two different sets of government people (at a federal level) you have to elect. There's the House of Representatives, who at their most basic level write legislation and keep all the stuff going (they also do things like write budgets, and attend official events, and sometimes they even say silly things on camera) These guys are pretty important, but not as important as the Senate.
The Senate are the people who actually pass the legislation. They're the people who look over the legislation and ask "is this really best for the people?". (In theory) They stop the government from having free reign over everything and everyone. You her about them less because their work is more behind the scenes than the work of the House of Representatives.
At all levels of Federal Parliment you mostly hear about 2 major parties, and 1 party who's gaining more and more traction every election. These parties are the Liberal Party of Australia(aka The Coalition (because a bunch of parties all joined forces and stuff)who are the current government), The Australian Labor Party (these guys are the main opposition) and The Greens .
The TLDR of the above is:
Liberal Party: Conservative
Labor Party: Kind of liberal
The Greens: Liberal
(yeah, the difference between the names/political views confuses me too, but it is what it is (this is literally the only time I'll ever say that in relation to politics))
That's pretty much it. I've linked all of the most relevant resources above as they're the best place to start when it comes to informing yourself about how your views fit in with politics. Remember, political parties aren't like football teams. Just because "your a liberal/labor/whatever" party doesn't mean you should automatically give them your vote without actually understanding what they stand for.
I've probably missed out quite a few things, but this is only meant to be an overview. (If you have any more questions, feel free to leave them in the comments. You can also probably find the answer using google! :) )
I feel as though this outfit is the most appropriate to go with this blog post. This is what I wore the day of the Lib Spill (which was the day I posted my political rant) I biked to a nearby park (and then went exploring) to calm my thoughts after all the political drama (it didn't quite work. I finished purging the angry thoughts into that political rant a few days ago)