Young Australians & politicians must start afresh and fix our “huge national turn-off” democracy, says peak youth voice
The peak voice for youth affairs in Australia has urged all politicians to join the new Prime Minister’s commitment to re-engage young Australians that have switched off from politics. Mr Rudd said young people have looked at politics in recent years and describe it as a “huge national turn-off”.
In his first speech after the successful leadership coup, Prime Minister Kevin Rudd placed a spotlight on young Australians’ role in addressing the nation’s challenges, urging them to “come back and listen afresh”.
Reynato Reodica, Acting Executive Director of the Australian Youth Affairs Coalition (AYAC) today welcomed the statement, saying “we applaud the new Prime Minister’s passion for young Australians and hope that all sides of politics join this positive dialogue on our nation’s future. But if young people are now listening, we need all politicians to show they have heard young people’s concerns and commit to making things better.”
Young Australians feel that they have been left on the periphery of political decisions in Australia for far too long.
Mr Reodica said “young people are heavily committed to our most pressing issues and want to be part of mainstream debates about our nation’s future and its prosperity. Yet politics has failed to harness their will and enthusiasm, and many young people have been forced to chart courses outside of the party system to address the issues that concern them.”
Prime Minister Rudd’s comments also come two days after the Lowy Institute released its annual poll, finding that less than 50% of young Australians believe that democracy is preferable to any other kind of government.
AEC statistics also show over 35% of Australians between 18 – 24 years have not registered for the electoral roll – meaning 493,113 young Australians are currently ineligible to vote in the upcoming federal election.
Mr Reodica says “Prime Minister Rudd and other politicians are now realising the important role of real engagement for young Australians in addressing our future challenges, but we hope it’s not ‘too little, too late’. We appeal to all young people and all politicians to open up and listen to each other – so we can work together to progress our nation”
For further media enquiries:
Mr Reynato Reodica, Acting Executive Director, Australian Youth Affairs Coalition P: 02 9212 0500
Unofficial transcript from the speech of Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd – 26/06/13:
“…let me just say a word or two to young Australians. It’s clear that many of you – in fact, far too many of you – have looked at our political system and the parliament in recent years and not liked or respected much of what you have seen.
In fact, as I rock around the place talking to my own kids, they see it as a huge national turn-off. Well, I understand why you’ve switched off. It’s hardly a surprise. But I want to ask you to please come back and listen afresh.
It’s really important that we get you engaged, in any way we can. We need you, we need your energy, we need your ideas, we need your enthusiasm. And we need you to support us in the challenges which lie ahead for the country. And with your energy, we can start cooking with gas.
The challenges are great, but if we’re positive and if we come together as a nation we can overcome each and every one of them. ”