Final push for youth representation

Students, universities, celebrities, politicians and the LGBTI community are urging young people to make sure they are registered to vote in the same-sex marriage postal ballot before tomorrow night’s deadline.

In what is being billed as the “biggest ever voter youth drive” marriage equality supporters are making a last-ditch effort to reach Australian citizens aged 18 and over who have until midnight on Thursday to ensure they are on the electoral role.

Hatch spoke with dozens of 18-24-year-old Macleay College journalism students about their thoughts on the postal vote, and their voting intentions. While 81 per cent of Australians in this age group support marriage equality, Hatch could not find any students not in favour of same-sex marriage. Students also unanimously believe the postal vote is an inefficient way to decide whether it becomes legal in Australia.

“Welcome to the 21st century. It should have just gone through in parliament,” Bill Robinson, 19, of Sydney’s northern beaches said.

“But I will definitely be voting for this. I’ll be voting yes, of course.”

Caitlyn Hurley, 25, said young people who weren’t registered needed to get active before it was too late.

“It only takes a minute, it’s online at and it’s so important. Do it now,” she said.

On Monday the Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) confirmed almost 37,000 people had registered on the electoral roll since the announcement of the same-sex marriage survey, with more than 434,000 others updating their details. However there were 279,000 “missing electors” aged 18 to 24, who were not enrolled to vote. Campaigners believe many of these people would support marriage equality. Schools and universities have been targeting them through emails, while activists and supporters have spread their message through social media and advertisements.

Hatch also took to the streets to ask the general public for their opinion on the same-sex marriage survey.

Tanika Bryant, 17, of Mona Vale, wishes she was old enough to vote.

“I would definitely enrol to vote if I was 18. Love is love,” she said.

“If two people find love, we shouldn’t make judgments about it or get in the way. It’s only fair.”

Michelle Lawson, 45, of Sydney, agrees.

“All love is equal. I wouldn’t miss this vote for the world,” she said.

“I think due to it being a mail-out vote lots of the younger generation won’t participate which will mean that the majority of the votes will comprise of the older generation who aren’t as willing to accept or promote difference.

“If it was an online vote it would be a different story.”

Yasmin McDonald, 26, of Paddington, said she had checked her details on the AEC website “to make sure I could vote”.

“This is a history-making vote and there is no way I want to sit back and leave it to chance that everyone else will do the right thing and vote yes,” she said.

“These days I never post a letter but this is one letter I will be proud to post. I really hope people will make the effort and have their voices heard.”

To enrol to vote or to check and update your details visit the AEC’s website before midnight tomorrow. – Story and video by Hatch newsroom team 

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