SBS Punjabi

Young first time voters under pressure to make "the right choice" at the upcoming federal election

SBS Punjabi

School students hold placards during a Climate School Strike protest at Treasury Gardens in Melbourne, Friday, March 25, 2022. (AAP Image/Joel Carrett) NO ARCHIVING

School students hold placards during a Climate School Strike protest at Treasury Gardens in Melbourne Source: AAP


Published 12 April 2022 at 12:11pm
By Tys Occhiuzzi
Presented by Harleen Kaur
Source: SBS

For those aged between 18 and 20, it'll be their first chance to have their say in the electoral process, on a national level.


Published 12 April 2022 at 12:11pm
By Tys Occhiuzzi
Presented by Harleen Kaur
Source: SBS


It's an election that for many in this group of climate activists, comes at a critical time. The School Strike For Climate movement rose to prominence in 2019, gathering momentum after the fires and floods in Australia in recent years.

Nineteen-year-old Varsha Yajman has been a key organiser in the movement. Fellow climate advocate Niamh  O'Connor Smith is based in Melbourne, and says she finds the government's policies off-putting.

"I sit here and think 'I don't know what my future looks like'. They don't represent what I want and they don't represent what young people want. I don't see anything in any of their policies that's actually going to help me long term, or build community around me and help other young people like me build a future."

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Senior Lecturer in politics at the Australian National University, Doctor Jill Sheppard, says the nature of Australia's compulsory voting system means young voters are often overlooked by the major parties.

She says it's unsurprising many first-time voters are disengaged from the political system.

"I think it's the easiest job in the world for the parties to engage younger people more than they're doing now, because at the moment they're frankly doing nothing. All they have to do is speak to younger people on terms that appeal to them. So talk about climate change, talk about access to education, talk about the problems faced by renters and people saving for their first homes. These are issues that the major parties seem scared to talk about because they will put off older voters, and they have to face that risk."

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