By Kaetlyn Chesi
The Australian Electoral Commission says youth enrolment is at an all-time high, with about 70,000 aged between 18 and 24 added to the electoral roll this year.
The Commission released the figures describing the result as the “best electoral roll in history”. It says 88.8% of the 18-24 demographic is now enrolled to vote, pushing Australia’s enrolment rate to 96.8%.
More than 400,000 people aged between 18 and 19 are enrolled to vote in the upcoming federal election.
Murdoch University politics lecturer, Ian Cook doubts the increase in youth representation will have a large scale impact on policies.
“Younger people just aren’t an attractive demographic that a major party will go to,” he said.
Despite this, Cook hopes Australia’s young people will become more involved in politics, as that may cause the parties’ interest in young voters to improve.
“We have to be really clear about this generational conflict: they will sell your future out if you don’t stop them… I’m dead serious about that,” he said.
Politics student at Murdoch University, Amber Goerke says the increase in representation gives her hope for positive change.
“I want my voice to be heard, and the more of us there are, the more likely that is,” she said.
“I do feel as I’m getting older, I’m getting more and more dissatisfied with the fact that I just feel like politicians don’t really represent my interests.”
When asked what may have sparked the increase in youth enrolment, Goerke was quick to cite recent global issues.
“We’ve seen what people not voting has done in America with Trump, and in the UK with Brexit, so maybe there’s a fear that if we aren’t politically involved that it could be really catastrophic,” she said.
The 2019 Australian federal election will be held on Saturday May 18.