Young voters bypassed by party policies

Young West Australians are heading to the polls this Saturday with neither political party having offered any specific incentives to win their votes.

Election observers say very few policies the two major parties offer reflect the interests of young people for the upcoming state election.

Many students at Curtin University will be voting at the State election for the first time.

Political commentator Peter Kennedy says political parties could be a lot more relevant to younger people if they offered policies which attracted their interests.

“I don’t recall specific policies from major parties for young people, except the job creation promises, or commitments, which are very important for everybody, including young people,” he says.

Mr Kennedy says the McGowan government’s handling of COVID-19 may increase its chances for a majority among young voters.

Students at Curtin University talking about who they are going to vote for in the State election.

Curtin Student Guild president Jesse Naylor Zambrano says more could be done to engage younger people with party policies.

“I think that young people would like to look out for policies that are either right now or in the future, of our lifetimes, like education policies, are very contentious this year with the federal government defunding education,” she says. 

Ms Naylor Zambrano says young people look for policies which will affect them in their lifetime.

“The National Union of Students is fighting for better Youth Allowance support for young students,” she says.

“Things like climate change policy which are going to affect the world that we continue to live in over our lifetime. Current issues such as education funding, youth allowance support and climate change have been amongst the few topics young people are fighting for.” 

Number of Australians enrolled to vote in December 2020

Saturday’s state election follows the 2019 federal poll which saw only 91 per cent of eligible voters casting their votes, with the biggest falls being young voters.

Ms Naylor Zambrano says young people may feel like they are not making a difference with one vote, but she says if you get a group together it can make a difference.