Independent Member for Indi Cathy McGowan has called on the government to show how it will encourage and support young people to participate in democratic processes and community life.
In a speech in Parliament on Tuesday Ms McGowan said there are significant barriers to young people enrolling to vote and a failure of the institutions to advocate on their behalf.
“There is confusion about enrolment rules. The involvement of the Australian Federal Police, Australian Electoral Commission and media in the affairs of 27 young people in my electorate caused the loss of trust in our democratic political institutions.
“In 2016 approximately 350,000 eligible young people were not enrolled to vote. In the eyes of many young people, these events are even more reason why they feel it makes no sense to engage.
“No wrongdoing was found after rigorous investigation but these young people are still being scrutinised.
“We need to stand up for our young people, we need to support them and we need to encourage them to participate in politics.
In her speech Ms McGowan called for the appointment of a Minister for Young People, to address systemic barriers that prevent young people from civic participation, to advocate on their behalf, and help ensure that when policies affecting young people are considered, they do not have an adverse impact.
“The AEC needs to be supported to engage young people. That includes implementing the recommendations from the Australian National Audit Office Audit report No. 28 2009-10.
“There is much to be done. I call on the Government to take responsibility and to begin the process.”