Who will decide the outcome of this year’s Federal Election?
According to data from the Australian Electoral Commission (AEC), people aged 65 years and older constitute 22 per cent of the electorate, while voters aged 18 to 24 make up just 10.6 per cent.
In terms of votes, this means Australia’s older population holds the most power when it comes to political sway. This influence may help to explain why particular topics, such as aged care, national security and the backlash against the Coalition’s reduced superannuation tax concessions, figure so significantly in the political campaigning, rather than issues that affect young people, such as higher education.
Baby boomers might have the voting numbers but, despite stereotypes, young Australians are increasingly giving their attention to political matters.
AEC research suggests that younger voters (18–24) are more in touch socially and politically than previous generations (think climate change and same-sex marriage). However, there will be just over 1.5 million voters who will head to the polls in July that fall into that age bracket, and a further 350,000 who will be missing because they failed to enrol to vote.
So, on 2 July, the 1.5 million voters who fall within the 18–24 age bracket will go up against 3.4 million Australians who are 65 and over. And this trend appears likely to continue, with AEC data showing that older Australians are ‘out-growing’ the younger generation by a ratio of more than four to one.
What this information reveals is that the outcome of Election 2016 may not be based solely on policy or personal popularity; it will be purely a numbers game. And since older Australians represent the largest proportion of voters, this game will play in their favour, making it all the more important that the issues that affect older Australians are put to the fore.
Read more at smh.com.au
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