Empowering Young Australians To Participate In Our Democracy

Today, more than at any other time in Australia’s history, the policy challenges affecting our nation’s future will play out not over a number of years, but over generations.

While no Australian under the age of 40 has experienced a recession in their adult lives, the need for reform to ensure that our economy remains productive, competitive and sustainable into the future will require generational decision-making.

For the young people of today, grappling with these policy challenges will be a centrepiece of their adult lives.

Research by the Whitlam Institute has shown that ‘young people want to be involved in decision-making processes and should be offered opportunities to do so within existing political structures’.

Encouraging their participation will encourage greater transparency and engagement, inspire short term issues-based or community-centred action to improve longer term decision making processes and value and acknowledge the contribution of young people through a process of accountability back to those young people.

Accordingly, Labor believes they deserve a say at the ballot box about the future direction of our nation.

As part of a broad strategy to engage young Australians in the political system and empower them to drive and guide change, Labor proposes the following:

  • Expanding the electoral franchise to Australians aged under 18

  • Improving the enrolment of individuals once they reach voting age

  • Better ways to improve the engagement of young people with disability, young Indigenous people, and young people living in outer suburban, regional and remote Australia.

Further information is available here.