Politicians Must Re-Engage with Young Australians - NFP
2 July 2013 at 11:02 am
Young Australians and politicians must start afresh ?and fix the “huge national turn-off” towards democracy, ?according to a peak Not for Profit youth organisation.
The Australian Youth Affairs Coalition (AYAC) has urged all politicians to join the new Prime Minister’s commitment to re-engage young Australians who have switched off from politics.
Prime Minister Kevin Rudd said young people have looked at politics in recent years and describe it as a “huge national turn-off”.
In his first speech after the leadership victory, Prime Minister Rudd placed a spotlight on young Australians’ role in addressing the nation’s challenges, urging them to “come back and listen afresh”.
Acting Executive Director of AYAC Reynato Reodica has welcomed the statement, saying “we applaud the new Prime Minister’s passion for young Australians and hope that all sides of politics join this positive dialogue on our nation’s future.
“But if young people are now listening, we need all politicians to show they have heard young people’s concerns and commit to making things better," Reodica said.
“Young Australians feel that they have been left on the periphery of political decisions in Australia for far too long.
“Young people are heavily committed to our most pressing issues and want to be part of mainstream debates about our nation’s future and its prosperity. Yet politics has failed to harness their will and enthusiasm, and many young people have been forced to chart courses outside of the party system to address the issues that concern them.”
Prime Minister Rudd’s comments also come just days after the Lowy Institute released its annual poll, finding less than 50% of young Australians believe democracy is preferable to any other kind of Government.
AEC statistics also show more than 35% of Australians aged between 18 – 24 years have not registered for the electoral roll – meaning 493,113 young Australians are currently ineligible to vote in the upcoming Federal election.
“Prime Minister Rudd and other politicians are now realising the important role of real engagement for young Australians in addressing our future challenges, but we hope it’s not ‘too little, too late’," Reodica said.
We appeal to all young people and all politicians to open up and listen to each other – so we can work together to progress our nation.”