The art of questioning 


    By Taylor Navarro

    Picture this:

    You’ve been selected — lil’ old you — to have breakfast at Parliament House. It’s a prestigious event including several other schools and three invaluable guest speakers; they’re all liberal politicians passionate about making a difference, and united by a desire to stimulate change. They say some pretty motivating things. 

    “You can make a difference!”

    “I believe in a better Australia!”

    “I helped raise 122 million dollars to fund positive differences in Australia!” 

    And so you’re sitting there, bursting with passion. You’re like, wow. These people are amazing. I want to be like them. I can be like them. And then you start to idolise them. You let go of any pre-existing cynicism you may have had towards politicians and you start to think that this is what is meant by democracy: helping people. Progressing towards a future where we can worry less and look forward to more. It’s all wonderful, because it is— but are you asking yourself the right questions? Are you remembering to question them? 

    For example, our generation is notorious for radical change. The differences that we want to make… are you prepared to accommodate them? 

    What do you mean by ‘better Australia’ — better for who, exactly? Which demographics in particular? Whose concerns or interests are you acting on? 

    And that 122 million dollars in funds— what differences have you actually been able to make with that money? And where and how did you get it, when our country is in an economic state on par with the Great Depression? 

    Most of these questions don’t have answers, and sometimes it’s reasonable. But not asking these questions isn’t. Yes, democracy is all about helping the people. Yes, democracy is all about leading through the leadership of the people. But democracy is more than having a say, it’s about having a voice. And we need to use that voice to ask questions, because Gen Z, we are becoming adults. 

    It’s embarrassing how many of us don’t understand the value of our vote and have made no effort to understand or question Australian political power— the same power that has disguised inflation as a benefit, because at least our wages are going up. The same power that has plunged us into millions of dollars worth of debt due to short-term political decisions, and the same power that is responsible for our housing crisis, our destructive student debt, the limited and near-impenetrable hiring pool, and so much more that needs to be spoken about today. 

    So really, truly think about it. What questions do you have?  

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