NSW votes: ‘I don’t know who the other guy is’

Nineteen-year-old Max Fontaine was among the youth interviewed by Macleay College about the NSW state election.

NSW is preparing for the polls on March 23, but do young people even know who’s running?

Premier Gladys Berejiklian and the Liberal Party are hoping to extend their eight-year reign by a further four years, in a contest that will pit two relatively new party leaders against each other.

Berejiklian was only sworn in as Premier in early 2017 after the surprise resignation of Mike Baird.

In Labor’s case, Michael Daley was only elected leader in November last year after former leader, Luke Foley, resigned following harassment claims which emerged in relation to ABC reporter Ashleigh Raper.

It seems younger voters are more engaged than ever courtesy of the same-sex marriage debate last year which saw a rise in young people signing up to vote. In NSW there are now 140,000 more 18-35-year-olds registered to vote than 1.5 years ago, according to The Conversation.

An interest in politics might be one thing, but what about an interest in politicians?

Macleay College hit the streets of Sydney’s Martin Place with photos of Premier Gladys Berejiklian and Opposition Leader Michael Daley to find out what the youth of NSW really know about these relatively new leaders.

Twenty-three-year-old Irramah Franks.

Responses ranged from very little knowledge to being somewhat informed with all conceding they should know more.

All participants knew “Gladys” by sight, however no one knew Daley. There was also no awareness of the Opposition Leader’s policies which include free TAFE, introducing new nurse to patient ratios and re-introducing a cash-back scheme for motorists on the M4.

Sydney’s youth were also unaware of the Premier’s policy platform which includes delivering infrastructure, keeping the environment clean and reducing youth homelessness.

– By Ilias Bakalla @iliasbakalla and Talya Jacobson @JacobsonTalya