Changing Forms of Participation: Part 2

Media commentators and legislators in Australia consistently rely on traditional concepts of citizenship which stem from Australia beginning as a democracy, that is, ‘government by the people; a form of government in which the supreme power is vested in the people and exercised by them or by their elected agents under a free electoral system,’ (Macquarie University, 2002). The problem with this model of political engagement is that it relies on the idea that the elected representative is predominantly interested in achieving what the ‘people’ want and listening to the needs of the district, region or demographic who elects them, and this is not what Generation Y is experiencing (Keane, 2012). Thus young adults now coming of age and becoming part of the political process at age 18 have lost faith in their political system and their elective options, as ‘Labor and the Coalition seem two faces of the same coin’, and there is little alternative when it comes to election time (Tranter, 2012). Therefore civic participation rates suffer as they turn to alternate forms of political participation to express their interest in Australian politics.

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