Australia sees surge in youth voter registration
Updated 22:29, 04-May-2019
Greg Navarro
A record number of young Australians have registered to vote before this month's federal election. According to the Australian Electoral Commission, an estimate 88.8 percent of eligible 18-24-year-olds have registered, helping to push the country's national enrollment rate past 96 percent.
While voting is compulsory in Australia, some advocates believe the 2017 postal vote on same sex marriage was instrumental in getting more young people involved.
"I think we saw that because it is much easier to see how our vote can make a difference on an issue to issue level then when you are just voting on the whole of the government," said Y Vote Founder Skye Riggs.
Record number of young Australians have registered to vote. /Reuters Photo

Record number of young Australians have registered to vote. /Reuters Photo

She has helped launch an effort to better equip younger voters with the tools they need to understand the political process.
"I think part of our job is making young people aware of their power in politics because politicians are there to do their job to listen to them, and young people have a right to be heard and for their needs and issues to be reflected in policies that are being made," said Riggs.
There are signs that the major parties are starting to pay attention to some of the concerns of younger voters.
Skye Riggs, Y Vote Founder. /CGTN Photo

Skye Riggs, Y Vote Founder. /CGTN Photo

"If you look at the Liberal's announcement about jobs...they've started talking about youth unemployment and the job creation for young people. You are seeing Labor looking at housing affordability and mental health, and talking about things that young people care about," said Katie Acheson who chairs the Australian Youth Coalition.
What remains to be seen is what kind of impact younger voters will have on the federal election later this month.
"I don't think it is a fad or a blip that we are seeing young people get more involved. Millennials are highly engaged in social issues, they are very much orientated towards using their power whether it be their career or volunteering through their personal time to create social change," said Riggs.