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Saturday, December 03, 2022

One of the Coalition’s fatal errors? Ignoring young people

In week two of the election campaign, we noticed it: Young people were being ignored on the trail.

The leaders’ appearances on legacy media, and the little attention they paid to climate change and mental health policy, meant that young Australians were lacking faith in the options in front of them — well before they made it to the ballot box.

On Saturday night, the unprecedented support for the Greens in Queensland would not have come as a surprise to those who were paying attention to the very angry, and very politically engaged, young people around them.

Brisbane, Griffith, and Ryan — electorates that rejected the major parties and turned Green — all have the highest proportion of youth voters in the country.

But this wasn’t just a “Greensland” coincidence.

In the 10 electorates with the highest proportion of youth voters (aged 18-29), only two were won by the Coalition. Four were won by the Greens.

RANKING

electorate

VOTERS UNDER 30

WINNING PARTY

PREVIOUSLY

1

MELBOURNE

26.9%

GREENS

GREENS

2

BRISBANE

25.7%

GREENS

LNP

3

GRIFFITH

24.7%

GREENS

ALP

4

CANBERRA

23.1%

ALP

ALP

5

RYAN

22.5%

GREENS

LNP

6

NEWCASTLE

22.3%

ALP

ALP

7

HERBERT

22.2%

LNP

LNP

8

WERRIWA

21.5%

ALP

ALP

9

CALWELL

21.3%

ALP

ALP

10

LINDSAY

21.3%

LIBERAL

LIBERAL

Meanwhile, in the 10 electorates with the lowest proportion of youth voters, seven were won — or are likely to be won — by the Coalition, and none were won by the Greens.

RANKING

electorate

VOTERS UNDER 30

WINNING PARTY

PREVIOUSLY

141

RICHMOND

11.4%

ALP (LIKELY)

ALP

142

LYNE

12.1%

NATIONAL

NATIONAL

143

WIDE BAY

12.3%

LNP

LNP

145

HINKLER

12.9%

LNP

LNP

146

Page

12.9%

NATIONAL

NATIONAL

147

GILMORE

13.0%

LIBERAL (LIKELY)

ALP

148

FLINDERS

13.3%

LIBERAL

LIBERAL

149

Mayo

13.7%

CENTER ALLIANCE

CENTER ALLIANCE

150

EDEN-MONARO

13.8%

ALP

ALP

151

Grey

14.0%

LIBERAL

LIBERAL

This wasn’t solely an error on the Coalition’s part: Labor, if clever enough to tap into the frustration of young voters in south-east Queensland, certainly could have picked up a few more wins in the sunshine state.

Greens leader Adam Bandt said the support his party received from young Australians was the “most moving and meaningful endorsement” from election night.

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“Young people were coming up, in many instances with tears in their eyes, saying, ‘actually, this is the first time I feel hopeful about politics. This is the first time that I feel we might have a chance of tackling climate change’ . It was genuine, moving.”

Of course, it wasn’t solely young voters who helped seal the Coalition’s fate on Saturday. Women voters of all ages rejected the Morrison government in favor of a greener (and teal-er) future.

Combined, the lack of support from women and young people undoubtedly helped seal the Coalition’s fate.

What the major parties can learn from young people

While Australia’s election campaigns are mercifully short compared to some others around the world, strategising for the 2025 poll will certainly have already begun.

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