LISTEN UP: Lismore SCU students Bec Green, Hayley Lackenby, Dai Walkley and Maddi Campbell.
LISTEN UP: Lismore SCU students Bec Green, Hayley Lackenby, Dai Walkley and Maddi Campbell. Patrick Gorbunovs

Will parties lose young people?

IT'S NO secret that young people represent a powerful constituency this Federal election.

As our politicians tirelessly try to secure young votes by turning to social media and ocker phrases, are they missing the beat on the issues that are important to Generation Y?

In May the Australia Institute surveyed 806 young Australians and found 47% felt no political party represented the interests of young people.

The research found the top five issues that would inform their vote on September 7 were:

JOBS for young people

RENTAL affordability

MARRIAGE equality

CLIMATE change and

UNIVERSITY funding.

Fewer than 25% of young people in the survey ranked the big talking points of the election so far - economic issues and refugee policy - among the top five issues for them.

President of Southern Cross University's Lismore & External Students Association (LEXSA) Ben Bullivant said the views of young people living and studying in the Northern Rivers reflected the Australia Institute's survey results.

He said the cost of living was the biggest issue for students at Southern Cross University.

"For young people in our region, the cost of living is definitely the most important issue coming up in the election given some students can't afford regular meals," Mr Bullivant said.

Mr Bullivant also spoke on behalf of the university's Queer Collective and said young people feel marriage equality is a "non-issue" and the Government should keep up with its international counterparts and legislate to effect change.

"Our politicians need to stop dragging their feet on marriage equality and keep up with the rest of the world."

Indigenous co-ordinator for the Australian Youth Climate Change Coalition Amelia Telford said climate change was an important issue for young people heading to the polling booths for the first time.

"Particularly on the Northern Rivers, I've seen a lot of different changes to the coastline due to climate change," Ms Telford said.

"There are lots of ways we can move forward but we have to do it in the next three years, which is why climate change is on the agenda because whoever wins the election will need to take action right away."



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