Page 429 - Week 02 - Tuesday, 20 February 2018

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necessarily everyone that lives in that home. This is why young people are not engaged: we are not trying to engage them.

How are we meant to do things better? How do we connect with younger Canberrans? As a few people have mentioned, social media is a fantastic tool to engage young people. Over 99 per cent of Australian young people use some form of social media. It is important that politicians and government are approachable and human online. Exclusively focusing on policy details can scare off even the most ardent policy wonk. Making content interesting and entertaining is also pretty important, as some members in this place know—not naming names. Not everything needs to be so serious. Videos, jokes and political commentary are all great engagement mechanisms.

What about reaching out to Canberra’s young through a traditional method? If we are not going to talk to them through social media and we are going to use one of these traditional methods, how are we going to do it? Well, the best way to do it is through an issues-based campaign—talking to people about things they actually want to talk about. Penalty rates: most young people have jobs and they are probably relying on their penalty rates in some form. Housing affordability: they are probably paying a lot in rent and do not love that fact. Marriage equality: most young Canberrans either know or know of someone or are LGBTIQ identifying. Lots of young people are concerned about university and TAFE funding because most of them are studying and they care about the education they receive. And, importantly, public transport: if you are too young to drive, you are going to be catching the bus, a lot.

Traditional methods of communication like street stalls are normally pretty terrible at engaging with young people. They can be good; you just need to go where the young people are. During the marriage equality campaign Mr Steel and I held street stalls in Civic on Friday and Saturday nights. The crowds going to Mooseheads, Mr Wolf and Academy were very excited to see Mr Steel and me because they wanted to share with us their support for marriage equality and they wanted to check that they were enrolled to vote.

Mr Hanson: I must have missed you on the way to Academy.

MR PETTERSSON: I think we spotted you out there. Mr Hanson, as well, came to Mooseheads, I’m pretty sure.

We received overwhelming support. Lots and lots of young Canberrans expressed their thanks and amazement that we were in the city to talk to them at 10 pm on a Friday. Engaging with young people is not a mystery, but it is vital. We have to learn to take the conversation to young people. We must talk about the issues that affect them on mediums they access, whether that be online or on the street. Young people want us to do this. They are passionate and engaged. We must alter our approaches to community engagement to meet theirs. As cliched as this sounds, young people are the future, and it is important that they feel that governments are listening to them and that those concerns are reflected in our policies.

Discussion concluded.

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