Whitlam Institute

What Matters 2017 Finalist Entries

What Matters? Finalists 2017

2017 What Matters? NSW/ACT Year 11/12 Winner




Sefton High School

As a young Australian, technology is an ever-present part of my life. Technology is no longer just a tool for me to use when needed – it has become an extension of my mind and self. My mobile phone alone holds more information about my being, my thoughts, my feelings, my comings and goings, my plans etc. then any one person could possibly know, and that is why privacy law is what matters to me. I firmly believe that no one, especially the government, should be able to collect data on people en masse and that the internet as a whole should be regarded with more respect in regards to privacy. Our current laws certainly do not reflect my beliefs – I am extremely disappointed that all over the modern world things like the Patriot Act of 2001 in the United States are allowed to pass without challenge. The people we as a society have elected use fear mongering to push these Orwellian laws through. They claim that these laws, which erode our freedoms, are needed to prevent domestic terrorism, however, the argument can be made that the terrorists have already won if we as a people live in constant fear of each other, our governments and foreign people. Also, in the wake of what seems like never-ending attacks, this mass spying seems to be having absolutely no observable effect on terrorism what so ever. I subscribe to the idea that our freedoms and our privacy should be defended no matter the cost and that we should not disregard these things with such haste – it is not far-fetched at all to think that these privacy laws are and will be abused by government agents with impunity under the guise of security. Once we cross this thin line, when will we stop? Will we stop at all? Can we even prevent “Big Brother” from making this leap in the first place when we live in a world where it is impossible to go unnoticed thanks to technology? I have a strong feeling that these questions will not remain unanswered in the coming years, for better or for worse. However, all is not bleak. I truly believe that my generation has the ability to rise to the occasion and I hope that once we are able to participate in and influence our own governance we will make the right decisions. I end this entry by looking to the past for answers about our future. Benjamin Franklin said that those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither and will lose both.


Jenna Beck