Or is voting a waste of time because people just believe whatever shit the media is telling them? (Which is the big problem with the Australian system.)
This, consumerism has made the majority of the population extremely complacent, lazy and dumb. They cannot think for themselves so the next best thing is whatever the television/radio tells them. This is how Glenn Beck and the corporate sponsored Tea Party has so much support - the ironic part being that the people supporting the organization are being directly fucked by it's funders.
People get angry about their rights to a standard of living being taken away, and using that anger it's only so easy to manipulate the simple-minded into working against their own welfare.
We also live in a distorted superficial society where people would rather vote in famous political/non-political celebrities over legitimate candidates (Donald Trump and Sarah Palin anyone?).
Historically, what you are seeing is what has happened hundreds of times in history before, and is ultimately inevitable for every society in the scope of things; the peak of an empire. I think we have passed our peak and are now on the downward bell-curve. If you look at most historical empires the same thing happens when the aristocrats and rulers (the wealthy and powerful) get so greedy it messes with the basic operations of society. Over time the system stops working and consequently collapses.
The way things are currently lined up, I think your going to see China emerge as the new world superpower, but probably not for a good while. The U.S will fight tooth and nail to keep their supremacy, all the while getting weaker and weaker.
All I know is when I'm an old geezer, (which is a long time from now) the world is going to be a very very different place - and probably not in the good sense.