Jordon Steele-John has stood for office six times. He made headlines when he won Greens pre-selection for the Seat of Fremantle in the 2013 federal election, and although he didn’t win the lower house seat, he’s vying for a senate seat this weekend.
The Warnbro local is just 21 years old and suffers from severe Cerebral Palsy that has left him wheelchair-bound. That hasn’t stopped him from working towards his dream of being in parliament, leading the country to a more sustainable and disability-friendly nation.
“It’s been challenging…I’m a disability and youth advocate, what I do a lot of is public speaking in relation to disability rights awareness.
“I’m really passionate about getting young people engaged in the political process…and I think it’s really important that our voices are head in the corridors of power.
“There are so many issues that are going to have an incredible impact on my generation. Yet many issues are crafted by people that are older and not of that demographic.”
It’s been a long eight weeks of campaigning this election and now that the media blackout has commenced the only way parties can get their message out is through online platforms.
Steele-John believes that although the campaign has been very long, the conversations and messages from other parties haven’t resounded with voters.
“It’s one of those things, it’s been so long, and yet so little has been said…generally the political discourse has been so dry.”
Steele-John has been busy since the last election, holding a position on the board of NFP organisation: People With Disabilities WA, and the Disability Access Reference Group amongst other things.
“It’s been a wonderful experience [to stand for parliament]… to have this fantastic opportunity to talk about issues that often don’t get a lot of airtime.
“But also to challenge and bust some of the myths and preconceived ideas about young people and people with a disability.”
At 21 years of age, it’s hard to imagine someone being ABLE to stand for six elections, but Jordon has stood for council twice, federal parliament twice and state parliament twice.
Asked if his age could be a reason he hasn’t won a seat yet, he responds with:
“It’s an interesting question. I don’t think it should…I think that there’s no correlation between age and wisdom, If you look around the world, Barry Black defeated Douglas Alexander in the last British general election – he’s 20 and one of the most influential voices in government.”
Senator Scott Ludlam describes Steele-John as an incredible candidate whose success in parliament would be due to his enthusiasm and energy.
“It’s not the first time Jordan has run [for The Greens] he’s incredibly passionate and has an amazing future in his work,” said Ludlam.
This election the senate election percentage is down to just 7.7 per cent, because of the double dissolution. This means that it theoretically should be a lot easier for Jordon to pick up a seat in the upper house.
Jordon took just over 10,000 votes last time round, not nearly enough to get him into parliament without the right preference deals.
“I expect to take maybe 20,000 votes, my main concern is to make sure Scott and Rachel are re-elected.”