MALCOLM WHO?

BUNDY TEENS RE­VEAL WHY THEY PRE­FER AMER­I­CAN POL­I­TICS

NewsMail - - FRONT PAGE - MIKAYLA HAUPT JOUR­NAL­IST mikayla.haupt@news-mail.com.au

“THE most I know about Malcolm Turn­bull is that he is our pres­i­dent ... I mean prime min­ster,” one stu­dent said.

With the next state elec­tion near­ing, the NewsMail sat down with a group of Bundy stu­dents to talk about how they viewed pol­i­tics and, while some have an in­ter­est in the po­lit­i­cal sys­tem, they all said they know more about what is hap­pen­ing in Amer­ica than Aus­tralia – be­cause it’s bor­ing.

In a world where in­for­ma­tion is at our fin­ger­tips and memes are a form of com­mu­ni­ca­tion, pol­i­tics isn’t a pri­or­ity for mil­len­ni­als – but it’s not be­cause they don’t care, it’s be­cause it’s not in­ter­est­ing.

While they know the im­por­tant role they play in Aus­tralia as a voter and want to bet­ter the fu­ture, the way pol­i­tics is pre­sented isn’t en­gag­ing to ma­jor­ity of to­day’s youth.

Shalom Col­lege stu­dent Ben­jamin Gard­ner-Smith is one of the few who watches some po­lit­i­cal-re­lated pro­grams, and said more live de­bates would make pol­i­tics in­ter­est­ing as the re­hearsal el­e­ment was lim­ited that made it more en­ter­tain­ing.

“I think pol­i­tics is in­ter­est­ing be­cause of the de­bate side of things,” he said.

St Luke’s Angli­can School stu­dent Zack Phillips said the talk show cov­er­age in Amer­ica, like what Stephen Col­bert does, is what makes the po­lit­i­cal is­sues in the US un­der­stand­able con­tent and fun to lis­ten to.

Kather­ine Stevens said you can’t es­cape pol­i­tics on­line but she would still rather watch a movie than a po­lit­i­cal de­bate.

Shalom Col­lege prin­ci­pal Dan McMa­hon said “sadly” there wasn’t an in­ter­est in pol­i­tics among the stu­dent body.

“I don’t think young peo­ple, gen­er­ally, fol­low the news ei­ther do­mes­tic or in­ter­na­tional,” he said.

“Some ex­cep­tions to this of course but gen­er­ally, I get the im­pres­sion that how the po­lit­i­cal sys­tem works is not a high pri­or­ity for youth.

“The po­lit­i­cal/le­gal sys­tem would be stud­ied in sub­jects like le­gal stud­ies, schools used to have a sub­ject called ‘cit­i­zen­ship ed­u­ca­tion’” but sadly, it has been squeezed out of cur­ricu­lum of­fer­ings by the em­pha­sis on lit­er­acy

and nu­mer­acy.”

Stu­dent Cameron Darcy said he be­lieved it was im­por­tant for ev­ery­one to have a ba­sic un­der­stand­ing of pol­i­tics but “it’s hard to keep up”.

He said pol­i­tics needed to be bro­ken down, but not to the point where it was no longer se­ri­ous.

While tele­vi­sion, ra­dio and the tan­gi­ble news­pa­per used to be the only way to keep-up-to date with what’s go­ing on, stu­dent Dal­nette Kuyler said she got all her in­for­ma­tion through out­lets like Face­book.

“Teenagers nowa­days prob­a­bly watch tele­vi­sion a lot less,” Allen Preshy said.

“Be­cause we just get it on our phones, I have a news app and the break­ing news comes through or we are on our lap­tops.

“YouTube as well, I watch the trend­ing videos.”

De­spite im­me­di­acy of news, lunchtime dis­cus­sions aren’t com­monly based on news and pol­i­tics, the stu­dents said.

A gen­eral lack of en­thu­si­asm sur­round­ing the cul­ture of pol­i­tics has some young adults fol­low­ing who­ever their par­ents voted for.

Mr McMa­hon said he wor­ried that stu­dents were not in­form­ing them­selves about im­por­tant is­sues and in­stead sim­ply re­ly­ing on what they are told by Face­book, their friends or par­ents.

He said he would “love” it if stu­dents were ed­u­cated on the po­lit­i­cal sys­tem and par­ties in an ob­jec­tive man­ner be­fore grad­u­at­ing.

“Our grad­u­ates will be vot­ing in the next fed­eral elec­tion.

“I think that the vote should only be given to peo­ple who are able to pass a test about the po­lit­i­cal sys­tem so that we could be more sure that the vot­ing pop­u­la­tion is more en­gaged with the is­sues that are im­por­tant.”

Mr McMa­hon said some is­sues that may be of sig­nif­i­cance to to­day’s youth, high­lighted by stu­dents, in­cluded: equal­ity, sup­port for vul­ner­a­ble peo­ple, hous­ing, healthy fu­tures, ed­u­ca­tion and un­em­ploy­ment.

De­spite the count­less gen­er­al­i­sa­tions made about mil­len­ni­als, there is a group of young adults who want to be po­lit­i­cally ac­tive and they are in­volved in the Youth Par­lia­ment.

For any­one look­ing to find out more in­for­ma­tion about what af­fects them, visit the Par­lia­ment House web­site www.aph.gov.au, which high­lights po­lit­i­cal as­pects such as leg­is­la­tion that is be­ing de­bated, or leg­is­la­tion that has al­ready been brought in, along with how par­lia­ment works.

You can also con­tact your state MP, Leanne Don­ald­son in Bund­aberg and Stephen Ben­nett in Burnett.

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