A special message from our Executive Director
CEFA is proud of our national campaign “Celebrating the Australian Way”, to inform and engage Australians of all ages in our great democracy and our Australian Constitution. 1.5 million out of a possible 15.5 million eligible Australians were not enrolled to vote at the 2010 Federal Election. Nearly 900,000 of the 14 million registered voters did not vote at the 2010 election. 730,000 House of Representatives votes were informal. “In other words, more than three million Australians did not exercise their franchise at the 2010 election in the formation of our Government, or roughly one in five of those entitled to do so.” (Address by Mr Ed Killesteyn, Electoral Commissioner, AEC Seminar Series September 4, 2012).
With research also showing that less than 50 per cent of young Australians have a real grasp of what democracy means. The Australian Constitution is the main document by which we are governed and by which we participate in the Australian way of life. Yet most Australians do not value our Constitution, are not informed about its history or operation and are cynical and sceptical of our political processes, governments and bureaucracies and even our law enforcement agencies. There is a well-documented current disillusionment with Federal politics. We are faced with a real paradox critical to our future. We love Australia and the way it is and the peace and freedoms that are the hallmark of our democracy, yet we are apathetic and sceptical about our politicians and systems of government and we do not value our vote. The “Celebrating the Australian Way Campaign” will inspire and empower Australians of all ages to have conversations about our democracy through the launch of CEFA’s new 2.0 interactive website.
Australia only moves forward when every individual in our democracy plays their part. We are the oldest culture in the world thanks to our indigenous Australians and we have welcomed people here from hundreds of other places and made them equally proud Australian citizens. The Australian spirit has continually risen above many hardships such as through times when we have been at war and through economic depressions and recessions. In 1901 when we federated to form the Commonwealth we believed that while each of us will pursue our own individual dream we rise or fall together as one nation and as one people under our working Constitution.
Watch our “The Australian Way” video scripted by CEFA director and eminent author Tom Keneally. And add your voice to and through CEFA “The Australian Way”. There are a number of essential Constitutional debates that are critical to Australia’s future. The Federal government has identified national priorities including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories and cultures, Sustainability and Asia and Australia’s engagement with Asia. Underpinning these is a commitment to liberal democratic values, civic duty and a multicultural and multi-faith society.