It has been reported that in the lead up to the federal election nearly a quarter of Australia’s youngest voters aged 18 to 24 are not enrolled to vote. The Australian Electoral Commission revealed that a further 1.4 million people, of all ages, were also not enrolled.
In a speech delivered in late June, Kevin Rudd cynically urged young people to become politically active. However, he was forced to admit that it was “hardly a surprise” that so many young people had “switched off”.
In recent times the major parties have tried to appeal to younger voters through social media but this has been unsuccessful as many young people feel that none of the major parties represent their interests. Polling by the Australia Institute in June revealed that 47% of those aged between 18 and 24 felt this way.
This is not surprising given that the issues which young people care about, such as education funding, rising unemployment and urgent action on climate change are largely ignored by the political establishment.
Young people will not be tricked by social media gimmicks. They will become politically engaged when a genuine mass alternative is provided. The formation of a new left-wing party, based on the interests of young people and society as a whole, is the best way to provide that.
By Conor Flynn