YOUTH VOICE: Young People’s Decreasing Interest and Participation in Politics

Posted on July 21, 2010 by


The recent swap from Kevin Rudd to Julia Gillard and the up coming election has been big news in the political world, in a few short weeks a Prime Minister has been ousted, Australia has had its first female Prime Minister and an election is pending to see if Julia Gillard will stay Prime Minister after her rise to the top job. Despite all this, for many youths it occurred unnoticed, an insignificance in their lives. The election could mean considerable change in society that affects Australia’s youth, like in previous years when the alcopop tax was introduced and the price of pre-mix drinks increased, or when WorkChoices was implemented, affecting many young people at their first job.

Regardless of the effect that the election could have on young people and all of Australia, the new voters of 18 or 19 years of age that are voting for the first time still take little interest in how their vote impacts on society. But you have to question, why is this the case? Why do the youth of Australia take so little interest in the politics that shape their lives and the country they live in?

Perhaps there should be more information on voting and the political parties we are voting for. Too often do I hear my peers talking about the leaders of the parties and how they like or dislike them due their appearances in the media, like on the news or some sensationalised TV program. But do they know that these political leaders only represent their political party and the policies and agenda that the party represent?

Young people should put more thought into their vote and further consider who they are voting for, what political party each candidate comes from, what the political parties represent and their policies that they plan to implement once they are elected. These are important points when deciding for whom to vote, not just if you like a politician or not, particularly if for the first time.

Voting for the first time is just like doing anything for the first time; one must learn how to do it in order to be successful. As voting is an important part in our democratic society it should be taken seriously and more thought should be put into it by first-time voters. All voters, especially first-time voters, should learn more about the policies of those they cast their ballot for because they may just affect you in some way after the election.

As a youth myself, the upcoming election is the first time I will have the opportunity to contribute to the election of the leader of our country and vote for a party that supports the policies I think would better society. Before voting I intend to become better informed about how my vote will affect the society I live in and not just throw my vote away in ignorance.  I strongly urge all fellow first-time voters to do the same.

Jessica Love is a first year student Bachelor of Arts student at La Trobe University Albury-Wodonga campus with an interest in politics.  She will be voting for the first time at the 2010 federal election.

The views in this story are those of the author and not necessarily those of Our Voice: Politics Albury-Wodonga.