Feature

50 young voices

The faces behind the voices in our voter survey. Photo: Ruby Devlin.

Young West Australians have identified climate change as the most pressing issue for them in the upcoming federal election. 

That’s the result of an informal survey conducted at Curtin University’s Bentley campus by the Western Independent. 

With the federal election set to be called any day now, more than half the 50 respondents will be voting for the first time. 

About 40 per cent of respondents say climate change will be front of mind when they hit the polls, while 26 per cent say they want the government to address discrimination against minority groups. 

Western Independent reporters Isabella Corbett and Elliahn Blenkinsop surveyed dozens of Curtin University students on the electoral issues they care about the most. Video: Elliahn Blenkinsop.

Daniel Wallis-Barker, 26, from Bayswater says the government needs to implement more sustainable practices. 

“I am an engineering student so environmental sustainability is important for my industry,” he says.

“If we’re not working towards anything now, we’re not going to have a future. I want positive moves towards that.”

Daniel Wallis-Barker says sustainability matters to him. Photo: Isabella Corbett.

Many students echoed Mr Wallis-Barker’s views. 

Sienna Rubio, 19, from Palmyra says an environmental call to action is required to preserve the Earth for years to come. 

“I am scared for future generations,” she says. 

“Will my kids experience the same world I’m currently living in?”

Sienna Rubio
Sienna Rubio is worried about the consequences of climate change. Photo: Isabella Corbett.

Some students, such as 18-year-old Emily Letch-Avenell from Wembley criticised the incumbent Coalition government’s priorities.

“Indigenous issues and women’s welfare are never considered or addressed in many government policies,” Miss Letch-Avenell says.

“It’s something I want the new government to consider before they create policies. I want them to think about the impact it can have, starting with land and cultural rights for Indigenous people.”

Emily Letch-Avenell wants to see more thoughtful policy creation. Photo: Isabella Corbett.

Other young students, including Callum Baxter, 18, from Highgate were happy to finally have the chance to vote in a federal election.

“I am glad I can have my voice legally matter, instead of simply campaigning,” he says.

Rising living costs, the economic climate and health were Callum Baxter’s top three concerns. Photo: Isabella Corbett.
Young West Australians say climate change, equality and discrimination, mental health and rising living costs are the political issues most important to them. Infographic: Alex Foot.

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