Cats or dogs? Age-old debate goes to Thirroul ballot box

WHILE many adult eyes are focussed on the state of federal politics, an age-old debate is being waged for young people at Thirroul Library.

The question being tackled – would you vote for cats or dogs?

Visitors are being encouraged to cast their vote for Purrfect Cats or Pawsome Pups, with the winner of the poll to be announced at 11am on Monday May 23, and details will be published on Wollongong City Libraries’ Facebook page.

The inspiration behind the initiative came from The Lego Librarian blog and the Wollongong City Libraries team embraced it as a way to allow young minds to participate in debate and democracy, just like all those aged 18 and over who will cast their vote in this Saturday’s Federal Election.

Wollongong City Council Library and Community Services Manager Jenny Thompson said Thirroul Library will also be a voting centre for the election.

“A lot of younger community members are seeing the campaign placards out the front and people handing out voting information, so it was a wonderful opportunity for them to get a feel for how democracy works,” Ms Thompson said.

“The idea of a debate between which is better – cats or dogs – is a great introduction for kids as they’re able to put forward a case and consider the arguments of others before casting their vote.

“Libraries play such an important role as a place where our community members can connect with other people, engage with new ideas and concepts and share information. I just love the initiative of our passionate librarians to come up with this idea that supports our younger community members to be involved in conversations and to build their understanding of democracy.’’

The voting is open until 1pm on Saturday, May 21, and everyone – not just kids – can cast their vote.

“We’re watching the ballot box carefully to make sure there is no vote tampering, and each young person can only vote once,’’ Ms Thompson said.

“Of course, I anticipate there might be a few donkey votes, too, for those who don’t like cats or dogs. After all, we know from our customers’ borrowing habits rabbits are firm favourites when it comes to pets. So maybe by the next election we might see a third party in the running. We’ll have to watch this space.’’

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About Mick Roberts

A journalist, writer and historian, Mick Roberts specialises in Australian cultural history, particularly associated with the Australian hotel and liquor industry. Mick has had an interest in revealing the colourful story of Australian pubs and associated industries for over 30 years. He is working on a comprehensive history of the hotel and liquor industry in the Illawarra region of NSW. Besides writing a number of history books, Mick managed several community newspapers. He has been editor of the Wollongong Northern News, The Bulli Times, The Northern Times, The Northern Leader and The Local - all located in the Wollongong region. As a journalist he has worked for Rural Press, Cumberland (News Limited), the Sydney city newspaper, City News, and Torch Publications based in Canterbury Bankstown, NSW.


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