How Young People In Tasmania Feel About The Upcoming Election

"I’m looking for a third job because I can barely afford things at the moment."

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As part of Junkee’s election coverage, we travelled down to the state of Tasmania to better understand how young people in marginal seats were feeling about the upcoming federal election.

Two seats in Tasmania will be critical to how a winning party forms government next weekend. They are the seats of Braddon (encompassing Tasmania’s northwest) and Bass (the north/north-east part of the state which includes the town of Launceston).

We stopped random young people across these two electorates and asked them:

  • What are the most important matters to you?
  • Do Australian politicians have your trust?
  • How optimistic are you about the upcoming election?
  • Which political leader would you rather have a beer with?

Here’s what we found.

Young Voter’s Biggest Concerns: Climate Change, Cost Of Living and Housing Affordability

Overwhelming, young voters told us that climate change, the rising cost of living, and housing affordability were the main issues driving their vote this year. Housing availability, concerning affordable rental properties in the state, was also a huge concern for young people.

Freya, a 21 year-old student living in Launceston said that the cost of living combined with limited housing availability had affected her grades as a student.

It is a struggle paying for things sometimes, especially with a full-time study on top of that,” Freya told Junkee. 

After finding it difficult to meet rent payments, Freya told Junkee that she had recently started living in her van to save money. Just before speaking with us, she was devastated to discover that it had broken down.

I’m looking for a third job because I can barely afford things at the moment.”

While Freya placed climate change as a “number one issue” going into the federal election, she also highlighted the tension between Tasmania’s high housing prices and the recent increase in the cost of tertiary education, something she saw as an additional barrier to young people.

“People aren’t going to university because it’s too expensive, people don’t want to pick up that debt if they’re planning on buying a house.”

Phoebe, a student living in Burnie, told Junkee that under-employment was also rife where she lived.

I’m looking for a third job because I can barely afford things at the moment. It’s also hard trying to work out time between uni and work, and time to have a social life.” Phoebe told Junkee. 

In addition to the rising cost of living, Phoebe also named climate change as one of her biggest issues driving her vote. In particular, she hoped whoever won the federal election would invest in “more sustainable energy and renewable energy” for the state. 

Freya, a 21 year-old Launceston student living in the seat of Bass.

Trust In The Major Parties Is Low

Many young people Junkee spoke to in Tasmania were cynical about politics and spoke dismissively about some of the government’s recent measures to improve the cost of living, like the $250 payment for Centrelink recipients and temporary cuts to the fuel excise tax.

Joe, a young social worker living in Burnie told Junkee that despite these recent measures, young unemployed people were doing it really tough.

“There are lots of unemployed people trying to find jobs. And that $250 is already used up, and even after the fuel excise cut, it’s straight back up to $1.82 for petrol over the road.” Joe told Junkee. 

Lily, a 23-year-old working in the local courts in Launceston told Junkee that she wouldn’t be voting for either the Labor or Liberal party, she still felt hopeful that the record amount of voters registered to vote in Tasmania could achieve change this election.

“I’m more hopeful than I have been previously, there’s a lot more momentum around young people in this election,” Lily told Junkee.

Cody, a young paramedic working in the seat of Braddon, says picking between Antony Albanese and Scott Morrison is like choosing “the lesser of two evils”. He says that he foresees Morrison winning the election based on his track record through the COVID-19 pandemic.

I think Scott Morrison (will win), purely because we have an aging demographic in Australia and a lot of people don’t like change. I don’t like change myself, I don’t like the current political party in power at the moment, but I think people will vote for him because it’s comfortable. He got us through COVID,” Joe told Junkee. 

Joe, a young paramedic living near Burnie in the electorate of Bradden.

Young People Would Rather Have A Beer With Albo

While the most of young people canvased by Junkee literally squirmed when asked “who would you would rather have a beer with?”, Anthony Albanese was the answer most people eventually gave.

“Albo, if I had to,” replied a student-teacher.

“I’d probably rather have a beer with Scott Morrison as opposed to Anthony. To me personally, Anthony just seems very fake,” answered Cody. 

That’s a hard one! Maybe Scomo so I can look at him the way Grace Tame looked at him” replied Camille, a 26-year-old student. 

Charles Rushforth is a staff writer at Junkee. Follow him on Twitter.