SUCCESS: Coalition Senator Dean Smith receives a hug from Labor Senator Malarndirri McCarthy after the same-sex marriage bill passed the Senate   at Parliament House in Canberra.
SUCCESS: Coalition Senator Dean Smith receives a hug from Labor Senator Malarndirri McCarthy after the same-sex marriage bill passed the Senate at Parliament House in Canberra. LUKAS COCH-AAP

OPINION: Politics isn't just for oldies, it's for you

FOR the first time, I've heard a lot of my friends talking about politics.

I've always been the odd one out in my group of friends because I've been interested in what those pesky pollies are doing in Canberra.

However, over the past year or so, I have seen friends interacting more and more with what is happening on Capital Hill.

That is mainly because of the marriage equality debate.

Young people voting has always been a topic of conversation when elections come around; how do we get the youth to have their say?

Seventy-eight per cent of eligible voters aged 18-19 voted in the marriage equality postal vote. That is more people in that age group that you could ever wish to turn up to a federal or state election.

The answer seems relatively simple - talk about issues that matter to them.

But I think that during elections, some politicians almost ignore the young vote so they don't have to worry about what their views might be.

While my friends might have actively taken part in this vote, I guarantee their views - like mine - are swayed by their parents. We're all raised in a particular way and you either move with your parents, or against them, so I wouldn't worry too much about their vote swaying the election.

Despite that, I think it's a mistake to ignore the youth vote.

It matters and it always will. It's important for us to have our seat at the table.

I think the marriage equality vote will help bring a lot of young people into the political fold. They might not be hungry for information like I am, but they might start taking notice because what is happening in parliament does impact them and I think this vote made them see that.

It will be interesting to see what the turn-out to next year's election will be for the age group 18-25. In addition to a lot of young people voting in our postal survey, they also enrolled to vote.

I think we need to find more ways to get youth involved in politics. I don't mean handing out flyers for parties and candidates, but actively being involved in conversations that impact the country, because it will impact you. All of you.

Do you have anything you'd like me to talk about? Send me an email at caitlan.charles@dailyexa miner.com.au.



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