Are Young Voters Pissed Off Enough With #Auspol To Decide The NSW Election?
Inaction on climate change. Lack of affordable housing. Music festival closures. Strip searches. Lockouts. A blanket refusal to consider pill testing...
It can increasingly feel like there are more things than ever (for all, but especially for young people) to be pissed off about.
The question is how this will translate on March 23, when NSW goes to the polls.
More than ever it feels like young people are mobilising at rallies, getting on the electoral roll, and realising that they can shape and refresh the parliament.
We saw this ramp-up during the marriage equality campaign. When the federal coalition government dropped the ball and forced us to have a postal survey on LGBTIQ+ marriage equality, thousands of young people picked up that ball and showed the leadership Canberra failed to for far too long.
Although the postal survey was unnecessary and cruel, it did encourage tens of thousands of young people to get on the electoral roll for the first time to support their LGBTIQ+ mates.
This NSW election will be the first time that these now politically engaged but non-party aligned young voters will head to the ballot box. And it’s clear from early voting booths to social media that these young people know that they have more options than just the two old parties and are instead backing progressive independents and new parties like Keep Sydney Open to be their unfiltered voice in the NSW Parliament.
The pork-barrelling and the hollow commitments that show no long-term vision for an environmentally sustainable, affordable and creative state don’t speak to this new cohort of voters.
They especially want to make sure we are taking action on climate change, and protecting the environment and economy by transitioning to renewable energy and creating new jobs and industries along the way. These voters also know they haven’t got a “fair shake of the sauce bottle” when it comes to housing affordability, thanks to that lack of planning and mandated social and affordable housings targets from successive governments.
Organised politics ‘millennial style’ combines substance and grassroots activism. The Keep Sydney Open party has 1,800 committed volunteers talking directly to their peers about issues and about creating an entirely new and open approach to political representation. And it’s working -- the party has more Facebook followers than NSW Labor, Liberal or the Greens.
Furthermore, there are 62 candidates on the lower and upper house tickets combined, from indigenous drag stars, musicians, and health workers -- none of whom have ever stood as candidates for a state election -- this is good for democracy.
Because young people are more likely to work on weekends or be travelling, the easy availability of online voting this election could see more of them cast their vote. Online voting is available at ivote.nsw.gov.au for those who can’t get to a polling booth on election day -- but you must register in advance.
The election day experience should be an interesting one too -- will millennial voters be seeking free-range sausages, or avocado on toast? A clever school community would do well to raise funds for their P&C by appealing to them the way the major parties have failed.
So this election let’s send a message, let’s make sure you have a seat at the table, rather than being on the menu. Young voters can shape the NSW election, and when we do, let’s celebrate after 1:30am!