Election survey to reveal what makes young Australians tick

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Joint media release with The Hon Kate Ellis MP

A national survey of young first-time voters will shine a light on issues that are important to them when they head to the polls, Youth Minister Kate Ellis announced today.

Ms Ellis announced the survey while calling on young Australians to have their say at the Federal election – about half of all 18-year-olds are not enrolled to vote.

The Federal Government is providing $150,000 to the Australian Youth Affairs Coalition (AYAC) to run a range of activities to engage young Australians in the election process, including a first-of-its-kind survey that will provide valuable insight into their top 10 issues.Ms Ellis urged young Australians to get involved in the Australia’s Youth Matters 2013 activities.

“We live in a great democracy, but democracy can only be at its best when all members of our society have their voices heard and have a hand in the future of our nation,” Ms Ellis said.

“I strongly urge any young Australian who is thinking of not voting at the forthcoming federal election to check out this project on the AYAC’s website and to find out how they can make Australian politics work for them.

“Enrolling to vote these days is not a chore –in fact it takes about three minutes to do so online. Three minutes for the opportunity to help determine the direction and policies of our nation is not a big ask.”

The youth voting participation rate gradually improves the higher the age, but one in four Australians aged 18 to 24 years are still not enrolled to vote.

Ms Ellis said Australia’s Youth Matters 2013 – Making Your First Vote Count will provide first-time voters with the opportunity to tell politicians and the wider community what issues will influence how they will vote.

“The survey will ask ‘first-timers’ to nominate their top five youth issues ─ such as getting a job and the cost of university.

“They will also be asked about their top five community issues ─ which could include marriage equality, climate change, housing and rent affordability, and poverty.”

“The survey will also ask first-timers to nominate key focus areas within each issue that political parties should be asked to respond directly to.

“The top 10 issues and feedback from the survey will form the basis of requests for information from the political parties and the development of a publicly available ‘summary sheet’ of the positions of parties on certain issues.”

Australian Youth Affairs Coalition A/Executive Director Reynato Reodica said too many young Australians, for whatever reason, were missing out on having their say.

“Young people are not just our future – they are here right now facing many challenges and opportunities,” Mr Reodica said.

“And unfortunately, young people are too often being left out of discussions, decision-making and policy development on things that directly affect them because they aren’t being involved in our political process and seeing for themselves what the process can do for them.

“I welcome Government funding for AYAC to do two main things – firstly to help all involved in public policy to better understand what matters to young people, and also to let them know that the future of Australia and the issues that are important to them are things they can have a say in through the ballot box and beyond.”

In addition to the survey, AYAC will run a number of activities that include:

Selecting and training 10 ‘first timers’ to engage at least 50 first-time voters to tell their stories as to why the top 10 issues from the first-time voter poll are important to their lives. These stories will be made available to young people through a website

Hosting a ‘living library’ event to allow the first-time voters to tell their stories to the media, MPs, AYAC, invited organisations and other decision-makers.

For more information visit: http://www.ayac.org.au/election

To enroll to vote, visit: http://www.aec.gov.au/enrol

Minister Ellis’ media contact: Joshua Cooney 0428 300 514

DEEWR Media: media@deewr.gov.au