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Political Freedom and Civic Engagement

Did you know?

  • It is estimated that at least 15% of young people who are eligible to enrol to vote have not done so (AEC, 2011)
  • 1% of all Australians report active participation in a political party (ABS, 2007b)
  • About one-in-two students feel they lack the knowledge to understand the issues, the policies of political parties, to make a decision about voting, and in general to vote (AEC, 2011)
  • Almost two-out-of-three students think that the act of voting is boring, and slightly more than 50% think it is a hassle (AEC, 2011)
  • Young people aged 12–25 years from diverse backgrounds – Indigenous, culturally and linguistically diverse, low socio-economic status, living with a disability, and in out-of-home care – are not widely involved in decision-making processes, despite official support (Commonwealth of Australia, 2009)
  • Young people care about the same things as adults but rank issues slightly differently.  The "What Matters to Australians" survey tested for differences and found young people were more likely to be concerned about:  minority rights, societal social wellbeing, worker/employment rights, and equality of opportunity (Devinney et al, 2012). Global problems appear to be of equal concern to young people and adults. (Foundation for Young Australians, 2014)


The opportunity to freely participate in all aspects of society is important to any well-functioning democracy. The way young people engage in political issues whether at a local, state, federal or international level is changing and while not as many are officially involved in political parties, there is a growing number participating in a range of civil society institutions, non-governmental organisations, online advocacy groups and social channels.

If Political Freedom and Civic Engagement concerns you, go cast your vote for it to be the 'Matter of Public Importance' to be debated in Parliamentary Chambers across Australia throughout 2015!