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Young people are engaged and politically engaged. But they were barely mentioned in the election campaign

Two weeks after this election campaign, you would be forgiven for thinking that this is nothing but typical: here and there nonsense, there apologizing for insensitive comments, silly questions, photo shoots, intimidation campaigns on the front page.

As soon as we have a photo of a candidate who clumsily eats a sausage sandwich or root vegetables, you will be able to call “bingo”.

But among all the ubiquitous campaigns, you may have missed the most important and gratifying week this week: Australia has recorded its single largest record day in history. More than half of the 700,000 new AEC applicants were between the ages of 18 and 24.

How important is it exactly? Well, Hallelujah, Election Commissioner Tom Rogers called it a “democratic miracle.”

But what is also miraculous is how little of these young voters, who were voters for the first time, have so far been traced to the election campaign.

On the triple j Hack, our listeners tell us every day about what is most important to them when choosing their elected representatives: climate change.

One of Hack’s listeners told us this week: “Just hearing the words ‘climate change’ coming from politicians is reassuring.” (ABC News: Tim Swanston)

Young people want climate action

But don’t just take it from those listeners who drink latte, festivals attend triple j: according to Vote Compass, 38 percent of 18-29 year-olds nominated climate change as their most important problem, which was higher than anything else. .

While climate change was largely absent in the first week of the campaign, it appeared in the headlines in the second week. This week, the coalition focused on attacking Labor policy on climate change, saying it would lead to a sharp rise in electricity prices.

Whether this statement is true or not is secondary to young people. Ask a young person about climate change and they will not talk to you about the cost of electricity or the price of reducing emissions. They will ask you about the price of inaction – and the price of avoiding the topic.

As one of the listeners told us last week, even a simple act of recognizing climate change has a long way to go: “Just hearing the words ‘climate change’ coming from a political mouth is reassuring.”

Long waiting times for mental health care

Climate change is not the only priority for young voters. When Hack visited regional Victoria this week, the problems with access to early mental health care were immediately clear.

According to former Victorian young Australian of the Year Dr. Skye Kinder young people can wait months to visit a psychologist.

“I would probably suggest that waiting up to 12 months is not necessarily uncommon,” Dr. Kinder said.

This is something that the main parties, to their honor, hope to settle. But while the coalition has a mental health policy that promises record spending and a focus on suicide prevention, and Labor advocates a policy that includes better access to mass-charged psychiatric meetings in the regions, the issue is still noticeably lacking in debate, media appearance and shiny material. campaign.

Some young trans people say the election means they have to “prepare” for transposition policy and media coverage. 04.30 AAP: Carol Cho

Instead, this week’s campaign was dominated by the debate over transgender athletes. This debate is not just at the bottom of the pile when it comes to priorities for young voters, it is a debate that has already shown that it causes mental problems among trans people.

It is ironic that while both parties are campaigning for better mental health outcomes, disputes along the way to the campaign seem to be causing damage.

According to QLife, the national LGBTQI + helpline, calls from transgender contacts have risen 56 percent over the past week. They saw an “increase in anxiety in the community.”

As Liam, a trans person from Melbourne, told Hack on the first day of the election campaign, everything was unfortunately predictable.

“As a trans person, elections only mean that we have to prepare for the media and the polls that use us as political pawns. In these times, there are always extra transphobic media,” Liam said.

Follow all the news about the Australian federal election in 2022 from April 22 on our blog

Media performances on older formats

Nothing was an example of the alienation of young people in the campaign but the debate of the leaders on Sky News.

It was not the content of the debate that left out young people, but its location: Sky News is a subscribing linear television channel – a string of words that are essentially Greek for young Australians under 25. This is not unusual for young people. so that people don’t own a television, let alone have an antenna connected.

Nothing exemplified the alienation of young people in the campaign but the leadership debate on Sky News. 04.30 AAP: Tony Zerna

This is not just a debate. Appearing in the media on the path of the campaign tends to favor older formats in which young people would not be caught: breakfast and AM radio stations.

Sure, some politicians have a team of young employees who try to be cool at TikTok, but before May 21, it hardly exceeds the list of priorities for Mr. Morrison or Mr. Albanes.

Speaking of sending a personal grumble: Neither has yet agreed to an interview for the country’s only national youth program (leaders, if you are reading, the door to the triple j is open). They also did not respond to a call from the popular social media server The Daily Aus to take part in a debate on Instagram.

Analysis from our experts:

Lazy stereotypes, untapped potential

While young people are often described as apathetic or non-politically engaged, rallies from the Climate Change Assembly and the outflow of mental health awareness in recent years show how lazy this stereotype is.

This democratic miracle – more young voters have registered than ever before – is not something politicians should ignore.

While young voters may be dominated by Australia’s aging population, first-time voters are malleable. Without decades of rusted party loyalty, they represent a ripe opportunity for smart candidates seeking votes.

All you have to do is include them in your campaign and not keep them waiting for the issues they care about most to be mentioned.

Space to play or pause, M to mute, left and right arrows to search, up and down arrows to volume. Watch duration: 3 minutes 36 seconds 3 m 36 s New citizens revealed how they feel when voting in the upcoming federal election

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