HALF of Australian 18-year-olds Haven’t Registered To Vote

By Samuel Leighton-Dore

Unless you’ve been valiantly avoiding print/screen media for the past few months, you’d probably know there’s a whole bunch of important stuff riding on the upcoming federal election.

Like, will same-sex couples ever be able to get married? Will millennials ever stand a chance in hell of buying into Australia’s laughable housing market? Are tax-breaks going to be handed to the mega-wealthy or the under-privileged?

Trickle-down economics. Negative gearing. Etc. Etc.

There’s simply no denying that young people have the most at stake in this election, which is why it’s so bloody terrifying that young Australian’s aren’t lining up to have their say. The Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) recently released shocking data that suggests that 18% of 18-24 year olds are not registered to vote, with a staggering 48% of 18-year-olds and nearly 24% of 19-year-olds still not enrolled.

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And it’s a MAJOR fucking problem for a number of reasons. Because even though we all bare the burden of being labeled as a  group of self-interested slackers by baby boomers, we’ve got good reason to be pissed.

In her book, Generation Less: How Australia is Cheating the Young, author Jennifer Rayner points out that today’s young Australians are the first generation since the Great Depression to be worse off than their parents.

When it comes to work, we’re not only finding it harder to get a foot in the door, but harder to advance in our chosen fields. Rayner quotes ABS figures revealing that the number of young people with casual jobs has risen from 34% in 1992 to 50% in 2013. Not only that, but over the same period wage growth for young people has dropped well behind that of older workers.

Average incomes for people in their 20s have grown at LESS THAN HALF the rate of people in their mid-50s. And with older workers staying on longer and longer in their jobs, the prospects of advancement are shrinking significantly. Flexibility? Sure. Vulnerability, exploitation and uncertainty?

Yeah, that too.

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Shittier employment prospects then make it doubly hard for young people to enter an increasingly fucked housing market. This is especially the case for those of us carrying another kind of debt, from which previous generations were rightfully exempt, and that is higher education loans.

This all equates to a pretty steep and dangerous mountain for us millennials to climb. We might be all thigh-gaps, gap-years and weekend double-time at the moment, but waiting longer to buy a first home has lifelong consequences. For example, it means we’re collectively less likely to embrace the risk-taking necessary for entrepreneurship or starting a small business, which in turn magnifies the issue of insecure work and the generational disparity in the potential size of superannuation savings.

Which means we’ll just work until we die.

And then we’ll be dead.

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The best (and most frustrating) part is that the AEC has made the enrollment process super fucking easy with a simple online enrolment form.

All you need is some valid ID, which we all know you have for them panicked 9.45pm bottle-shop runs.

YOU ONLY HAVE UNTIL MAY 23 PEOPLE! RUNNNNNN!

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