Former PM Kevin Rudd was ousted during his first term, but later reinstated by the party. (Pic: Kym Smith)
Former PM Kevin Rudd was ousted during his first term, but later reinstated by the party. (Pic: Kym Smith)

Young voters just want a PM who will stick around

IF I could have one thing right now, it would be a Prime Minister that's going to stick around.

As a taxpaying resident of Australia it doesn't feel like an unreasonable request, but apparently, it's actually quite a big ask.

In the 11 years that I've been legally able to cast votes at the ballot, I have never seen a Prime Minister serve a full-term.

First, there was Kevin '07, who promised to end the John Howard era - the only Prime Minister any of us can remember before the game of Prime Ministerial musical chairs began - and bring about sweeping, intergenerational changes.

Then came Julia Gillard, who faced a hung parliament and was never able to push ahead with the agenda she wanted before being rolled by Rudd again.

Rudd was followed by Tony Abbott, who, thanks to his penchant for eating raw onions and saying that his most significant achievement as the minister for women had been abolishing the carbon tax, was deposed by Malcolm Turnbull.

And now, after a rocky ride with Turnbull, we've arrived at Scott Morrison.

Julia Gillard deposed Kevin Rudd, only to be deposed by him in return. (Pic: Kelly Barnes/The Australian)
Julia Gillard deposed Kevin Rudd, only to be deposed by him in return. (Pic: Kelly Barnes/The Australian)

Five leaders in eleven years and not a single full-termer among the lot of them (six if you count Rudd's double serving).

And you've got to wonder, what the hell does that do to a generation of voters?

I was brought up to believe that voting was not just a right, but a privilege. That if we're lucky enough to live in a democratic country that values our say, we mustn't squander the responsibility that comes with that. But turn on the TV, and you'll see our leaders are doing just that.

And so those words, despite how important and true I know them to be, are slipping further away as my disillusionment and disappointment grows.

Yes, we vote for a party and not a leader, but at this point in the game no one can pretend that the past eleven years hasn't taken its toll on people's engagement.

Stability isn't just important for providing people with a sense of trust; it's imperative to allow meaningful political debate to flourish.

And every time a leadership debate arrises issues that actually matter to those who keep politicians in business - things like NSW being ravaged by drought and electricity pricing - are wiped away for weeks at a time.

Scott Morrison is the sixth Prime Minister Australia has seen in 11 years. (Pic: Sean Davey)
Scott Morrison is the sixth Prime Minister Australia has seen in 11 years. (Pic: Sean Davey)

I no longer care about who stabbed who or which wrong decisions were made and how there's nothing to see here because the party is back in business.

Because for people who can't remember a time before Howard, there's just no evidence in our memory bank to suggest that's true. We have no tangible evidence to fall back on that reassures us that politicians really do work for the people, that they do show up every day wanting to make a difference for the better, rather than for their own bank account.

This instability at the top has trickled down. The real travesty is that without stability there's little chance of meaningful political debate to flourish. And what that means for the next election is that there's every chance we'll end up not with the leader best suited for the job, but the one we believe will actually last the longest.

Katy Hall is a writer and producer for RendezView. Follow her on Twitter @katyhallway.