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Don't move to New Zealand, stay and fight

  • 20 May 2019


In the few days before the election, I was looking forward to no longer being ambushed by Clive Palmer advertisements and flyers in my letterbox. I was enjoying having robust discussions with previously ambivalent friends and colleagues — mostly around wages and climate change.

I felt truly hopeful that the people of Australia would follow the advice of this Tweet: 'Tomorrow, vote like you are a refugee. Vote like you are Indigenous. Vote like you are female. Vote like you can't find stable work. Vote like you can't afford a home. Vote like a young person. Vote like we're all in this together.'

Naturally, I went into an afternoon of volunteering — handing out how to vote cards — in my local area feeling incredibly optimistic and proud of how open people had been throughout the campaign. It seemed that people were realising they had the power to create real change. I felt confident climate change, the minimum wage and penalty rates, corruption in banking, our treatment of refugees and increasing support for people with disabilities would be key to the result of the election.

I was watching the ABC's election coverage with Antony Green but had to turn it off at about 8:30pm because I was so disheartened by the result. I languished on the couch eating chocolate for the rest of the evening until I collapsed into bed crying at about midnight.

I'd been scrolling through my social media feeds and they were awash with posts from my friends — many of whom are queer, disabled or on low incomes — worrying about their futures and the future of our earth. I saw countless posts with people saying 'That's it, I'm moving to NZ'.

I completely understand the desire people had to give up — I felt it too. I was scared, sad and deeply ashamed to be an Australian — to live in a country where it seems self-interest is prioritised above all else. And as this meme on Facebook so accurately depicted, the waves of grief come randomly as you continue to think about the lasting and drastic impact this election result is likely to have.

Visa applicants wanting to come to Australia are required to sign a values statement. According to this statement, Australian values include: 'a spirit of egalitarianism that embraces mutual respect, tolerance, fair play and compassion for those in need and pursuit of the public good' and 'equality