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Young people must counter the Coalition narrative

The most surprising demographic swing to the Coalition in the last election were “Voters aged 25-34 years living in outer-urban and regional areas”.

These are areas of high youth unemployment. Were they swayed by the constant refrain of “we have created over 1 million jobs”?

In August 2013, there were 712,400 people unemployed. The labour force underutilisation was 13.5%.

In October 2019, there were 722,400 people unemployed and the underutilisation rate was 13.8%.

More people unemployed, more people underemployed.

These young people would probably also have voted in the 2013 election. Have they forgotten the first Coalition budget?

“People under the age of 30 will now have to wait six months before receiving any income support through Newstart or Youth Allowance. After six months of support, if they have not found a job, their payments will be cut off for another six months. In addition, the eligibility age for Newstart will rise from 22 to 24 years for new applicants. Young people in this age bracket must access Youth Allowance instead; a loss of around $48 per week.”

Apparently, it was assumed that unemployed people under 30 would be supported by their parents.

The ultimatum was ‘learn or earn’. Perhaps they should have gone for ‘learn, earn, or starve’.

As pointed out by the Youth Affairs Council Victoria (YACVic), the state peak body for young people and the youth sector:

“There is no evidence that these harsh measures will increase the number of jobs available, or help young people to find a job and keep it. This same budget has removed the funding to Youth Connections, which provides career counselling and support to early school leavers, helping over six thousand young people a year in Victoria alone. The budget has also ceased funding to the Local Learning and Employment Networks (LLENs), which provide partnership brokerage between schools, vocational providers, businesses and young people, to support youth employment at a local community level. How can the federal government claim to be encouraging young people into the workforce when they are removing the very supports that helped this to happen?”

Thankfully, Labor and the crossbench in the Senate saved young people from the worst of this Coalition legislation, but they were unsuccessful in stopping them from stripping penalty rates from weekend work, mainly cutting young people’s wages.

Were young people swayed by the idea that the Coalition will produce a surplus to “pay down Labor’s debt”?

When Labor left government, the net debt was about $161 billion due to their stimulus investment to save us from the worst repercussions of the global financial crisis.

Net debt at the end of September 2019 was almost $402 billion.

So if we are considering whose debt it is, Labor $161 billion during a crisis, the Coalition another $241 billion during a period of global financial recovery.

When it came to Labor’s proposed tax reforms on property tax concessions, why would any young person vote against them?

Perhaps the answer lies in them not understanding that those tax concessions have skewed investment away from more productive enterprises that may have boosted employment towards investors monopolising the property market, freezing out first home buyers and acting to keep rents high.

Why would young people vote for the party that has decimated vocational education and cut the government contribution towards tertiary education?

The Coalition wanted to deregulate university fees, allowing them to charge whatever they pleased. They were successful in reducing the minimum wage at which HECS or HELP debt repayments were taken from young people’s wages.

The Coalition government have overseen huge increases in private health insurance premiums, causing the young people who prop up the system to leave in droves and then face ever-lengthening hospital waiting lists. Having sold off Medibank Private for a short-term budgetary sugar hit, the government gave away competitive control of prices.

They got rid of the mining super-profits tax, which led them to axe the schoolkids bonus that helped young families and to freeze the proposed increase in the superannuation guarantee and proposed increase in the tax-free threshold – changes that had both immediate and long term detrimental consequences for young people.

They removed carbon-pricing, leading to increased emissions that are having catastrophic repercussions whilst power prices continue to soar. Instead of collecting billions from polluters, incentivising them towards adopting better practice, we now pay billions to people who promise they won’t clear a bush paddock, or will reduce a herd during a drought.

If we want to talk about inflicting a burden on the next generation, the consequences of our inaction on reducing emissions, and the cost of doing what we must to survive, increases every year.

The only reason that young people would vote for a government who is focused on increasing the wealth of old people is because Labor, the media, and we older people, have either failed to inform them of the truth or failed to make them interested enough to listen.

I often hear criticism of the education sector for this. Can you understand how utterly defeating it is for them to spend several years evaluating tens of thousands of submissions from experts and stakeholders in order to devise a national curriculum, only to have a couple of guys, paid by the Coalition for a few months, to tell us we need to get rid of that sustainability crap and focus on our Judeo-Christian heritage, west is best, propaganda. More standardised testing, back to basics, bring back the cane, they advise, in direct contrast to educational research on the importance of individual improvement goals and executive function skills development..

Our children are either disengaged or embroiled in the extremes that preclude listening, negotiation, or consensus.

That is our fault, and I have no faith that we can fix it as we seek to apportion blame to the media, or the schools, or the politicians, or the parents.

But our kids can.

Since we adults have lost their trust, with good reason, the kids have to be the ones to bring some sense back.

We must help them to do that in whatever way we can, but they must decide the direction as we offer guidance.

They know how to communicate with each other. The future is theirs. It’s time for them to make their voices heard.


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  1. Wat Tyler

    Sorry, I’m all empathied out.
    You get the government you deserve.
    And boy, do we deserve it!

  2. Kaye Lee

    Being an empath is a real burden, but without empathy, we view each other with suspicion and grow further apart making solutions all the harder. The ‘I’m alright Jack and f#ck the rest of you’ attitude is personified by this Coalition government. We teach our kids the importance of sharing….pity we adults forget it.

  3. king1394

    I find a lot of conservative / right wing attitudes in the young people of that age group. The ones I know are small business people, or in work in institutions like police and prisons. They have their house, mortgage, a couple of kids and many aspire to a bigger house , private healthcare, and private school education for the youngsters. Anything that appears to threaten house values , small business as a job provider, or private schools, private health etc will be voted down. A lot of that age group are also surprisingly anti-migrant and uninterested in environmental issues.

  4. Kaye Lee

    We must bear some responsibility for the greed mirrored by our kids.

    The IPA wrote a great article in 1960 about the 50s being the age of the gadget where we all started to become people ‘of property’, able to accumulate ‘gadgets’, naturally leading us all to become more conservative. Apparently, the more we have (or want), the less we care about others, which then equates to voting Coalition.

    Go Gadget

  5. Matters Not


    teach our kids the importance of sharing

    While we may teach with certain intent that apparently not equate to particular learning(s). As you say:

    must bear some responsibility for the greed mirrored by our kids

    Perhaps what we are talking about here are values and it’s generally accepted that values are caught rather than taught. Part of a hidden (covert, unspoken, unrecognised) curriculum where students effectively learn by what is lived or done rather than what is said. It’s deeds not words that really count. Exemplar behaviours not preachings.

    Then again, I see that ‘greed’ can be good. Depends on definition.

  6. wam

    It would be a safe bet that the 25-34 swings was from people who had a job and thought they would lose it if shorten and the loonies got elected.
    Where the &#^#^& is albo $2000 a year from those unemployed under 24 and, they can’t all be on franking credits, maybe $7500 from 65-70
    In 2010 when the rabbott was in full swing our debt compared to poms, septics, nippon, korean, spain and jusy about everyone else was tiny and compared to income small bnut gillard and swan were mute. then silly billy ‘muter; and albo mutest?
    As for secondary school students. Have you taught in a private school? Had lunch in the staffroom?? They are ‘taught’ which side is right.

  7. corvus boreus

    If the queefs want to farnarkle the gonad from the felchers, fatso needs to go viagra on ICAC, but he’s even limper than flacco was, so it looks like we’re stuck with smegma.
    Thanks Dill.

  8. Keith

    People on New Start are finding it difficult to manage already. To make people wait 6 months for obtaining an allowance is obscene. It is a recipe for mental health disorders, suicide, homelessness and crime. It decreases stimulus in the economy, people don’t save but by necessity need to spend whatever they receive on necesities.
    Many of the politicians promoting such injury on people profess to be Christian. The Sermon on the Mount, and the parable of the Good Samaritan have been deleted from the Bibles of Christians who can support such destructive policies, it would seem.
    It used to be said that the LNP live in the last century; that is wrong, they are taking us back to a time before Unions were created should such despicable policies be implimented.
    A great policy for creating further poverty … exceptionally unAustralian.

    Jobs need to be created and be available.

  9. New England Cocky

    While I agree with your analysis KL, I am reminded of the Black Rights Movement in the USA (United States of Apartheid) during the 1960s when social reformers went from house to house selling the idea, indeed necessity, of enrolling to vote to make government more accountable.

    We saw the results of this strategy in Queensland when the regressive Campbell Newman misgovernment was ejected by a slim majority after the Labor had campaigned door-to-door for three years selling egalitarian policies. Labor overcame the one masthead News Ltd advantage in Brisbane MSM by selling their political message as the sacked Queensland public servants saw the last of the superannuation spent on ever-increasing prices.

    As for the “Great Assessment Scam” bought by successive governments as the panacea for Dickensian education practices, the conclusions are self explanatory and the assessment process is obviously irrelevant except for the recipients of the huge cost.

    To improve education for students it is necessary to train them in traditional academic tools like reading and numeracy then add modern learning practices like Accelerated Learning and Doman’s unified education.

    However, as always, “vested interests rule OK?” so progress if any will be glacial to protect the empires of those already established in well paid bureaucratic positions “supervising” the present system.

  10. wobbley

    I remember when as a 13 year old my friend and I snuk down to the river from the group 10 rugby league match at the adjacent field to suck a ciggy, my mate and I came across a swaggy who after a brief conversation said and I quote; the whole world runs on bullshit boys. I have never forgotten those words, how very very true. That was fifty years ago,

  11. David Stakes

    The real demographic here, is how did there parents vote. And more than likely being basically disengaged will have voted the same way. And if living at home they are insulated from the real world of survival. The self supporting young people will I am sure have voted Labor.

  12. Topenda

    I worked the election in May, along with an educated married couple who had decent jobs and seemed pretty sensible. During a quiet period, one of them mentioned their teenagers had queried whether “we are Liberal or Labor” people; the response was apparently a horrified, “Liberal, of course!” The parents related how they explained they couldn’t in conscience vote Labor as they didn’t want their children “saddled with a huge debt”.

    Talk about pushing shit uphill…

  13. New England Cocky

    @Topenda: I worked the 2019 election New England pre-poll with a local grazier who considered that “The nat$ have done well, just look at the achievements of David Drummond”. After I had embarrassed him by noting that Drummond had retired in 1961 and been replaced by Ian “Sinkers” Sinclair he thought that Sinkers had also done well. Did that include his extra-curricular activities chasing random skirt around Canberra that resulted in him being voted out the nat$ party leadership by his peers? Conversation ceased at that point.

    Then an imported nat$ booth worker from Grafton (200km east) was offended when somebody commented loudly for all to hear, “women supporting adultery support national$”. Since 1977 there have not been enough local nat$ supporters to man the nat$ booths for either NSW (Northern Tablelands) or Federal (New England) elections, so paid “volunteers” are transported in for the event.

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