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Life experience vs youth

By creative_canberran 28 March 2012 41

Earlier this month, the ACT Greens announced their 2012 election line up. Among the candidates, 20 year old University of Canberra student, real estate agent, drag queen and comic Johnathan Davis. By his own admission he’s scraping by, living at home, dividing his time between studies, part time work and his, various and colourful extra curricular activities. And there’s of course Wyatt Roy in the Federal Parliament.

Today Twitter brings word that NSW Labor loyalist and former ANU Union Chair Ben Dugan is to run for the Queanbeyan City Council. Readers of RiotACT have seen his name appear on here a few times, once because of his plan to rebrand ANU Bar (never happened) and his founding of an education foundation (not sure where that went).

I don’t want to focus on these individuals, but want to throw out there the issue of life experience vs youth. What do people think about running local and territory government while still studying, or with very little experience beyond study. Is there such a thing as too young, or is it desirable vs stale politicians jaded by the political machine?

What’s Your opinion?


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Life experience vs youth
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AsparagusSyndrome 12:22 am 04 Apr 12

Getting well along through middle-age now. As the old saying goes – The older I get, the better I was. I am more and more inclined to the conclusion that I and most others around me don’t have “the answers” and might just have to satisfy ourselves with giving out helpful suggestions and hope for the best.

So, give youth a go by all means. But not a free kick. Judge them by their performance and merit, just like the rest of us, and not by any misplaced ‘leadership’ aspirations they may exhibit. (Tt seems that every kid these days is given ‘leadership’ pep-talks at school each year from about the age of 8, so some of them might appear to us to graduate with a sense of ‘entitlement’ – this is just a passing phase. I’m not sure that too many of today’s youth got ‘follower’ pep-talks at school, but as that is most people’s destiny, it would seem more useful sometimes.).

Recognise that our youth have their own perspectives, just like we did, a less tarnished ‘idealism’ and perhaps less destructive cynicism than the rest of us. And yes, they often have less ‘real worldly experience’, but that all depends on your definition of ‘real world’ which generally appears to include “everything I’ve ever done and nothing else besides”.

If voted in, they won’t be working alone – they’ll be part of a team of varied talents and ages, whatever side of politics they enter (and sadly many will be absorbed into the party machines and compromise their individualism and ideals). Don’t be surprised if some of them switch sides. They won’t be the first. It’s not always down to naked opportunism – some of them are genuinely still finding their place in life (even if most of us would prefer they didn’t do that while in the priveleged role of public office).

Also bear in mind that genuine talent tends to show up early in those who possess it – its really up to us to identify it, recruit it when we find it, and cultivate it, not bury it. (The political workload will bury those of insufficient talent anyway). My $1.30 worth, allowing for inflation over all those decades.

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