Election 2019

It’s on: more focus needed on younger voters

Political parties should be doing more to connect with younger voters as the 2019 federal election campaign begins, experts say.

With 37 days until the nation heads to the polls, senior lecturer in global politics and policy at Murdoch University Ian Cook says parties need to have a bigger focus towards their social media.

Dr Cook says the parties aren’t very effective with their online presence to reach younger voters.

“Young people see this politics and go, ‘it’s just old men and they don’t care about me and I don’t really care about them’, which is a real mistake because what these old men are doing has profound effects on young people’s lives.

“Politics at the moment doesn’t speak to young people,” Dr Cook said.

Will there be a new government roaming the corridors in Canberra come May?
Photo: Steven Thomas.

It comes as the Liberal Party is currently pushing targeted advertisements on Facebook to promote their so-called ‘scare campaign’ against Labor’s vision for electric cars.

The political expert says while he doesn’t like the negativity of the scare campaigns, they prove their worth.

“Scare campaigns have effect because they’re simple to produce, relatively cheap to generate, messages are fairly simple to communicate, and people respond to them.”

Political commentator Peter Kennedy says these campaigns help parties to win over the doubting voters as the election nears.

“If you can do that, you have a good chance of winning the election,” he says.

“In 1993 Paul Keating ran a very big scare campaign against a consumption tax or a goods and services tax, then there was the scare campaign on refugees during Howard’s time, and more recently there was the scare campaign on Mediscare at the last election.”

Mr Kennedy says regardless of the campaign tactics which are used in the lead up to May 18, voters need to be aware of misleading promises and statements.

“All sides of politics are out to maximise their vote and often that involves exaggeration and if and when they find themselves in government they’ve gotta pull back and they wear the political consequences of that.

“I think voters would be pleasantly surprised if politicians levelled with them and actually told them the way it was rather than exaggerating it,” he said.

Dr Ian Cook says negative campaigning causing cynicism among voters is a problem.

“I want to start seeing policies talked about and real conversation.

“I don’t want to see the simplism of a scare campaign, a simplism of over-promising. . . sometimes you think ‘you guys are playing like you’ve got a magic wand that you’re going to pull out and shape the world,’ and we all know that’s not going to happen,” he said.

Below Dr Ian Cook explains how economic conditions impact where a political party chooses to focus their campaigning.