OPINION PIECE BY: Political Expert Dr Ian Cook.
The year started quite well for young people. The looming federal election had Scott Morrison promising to help Mark McGowan stimulate the WA economy, which meant that McGowan could outline initiatives to address the high rate of unemployment amongst young people.
And schemes to help young people into the property market were also welcome news to those young people wealthy enough to get into that market.
For the others, the continued fall in Perth house prices meant that rents stayed lower than they’d been during the mining boom and landlords couldn’t use a tight rental market to make life harder for their tenants.
A falling housing market is not always a bad thing for young people.
It was looking even better for young people when the “sure to win” Labor Party put forward policies that might make a difference in their lives.
The most important of these were to do with protecting the environment. Tax cuts for people on lower incomes, a plebiscite on making Australia a republic and more money for TAFEs were other Labor policies that appealed to younger voters.
We will never know whether Labor would have actually done anything helpful for young people, and in particular for the environment.
The Liberal-National Coalition’s miracle win meant that we got a government whose main appeal to voters was that they were not the Labor Party and were not led by Bill Shorten.
While Scott Morrison has been doing an excellent job of not being Bill Shorten, he’s been stuck with little else to do.
Apart from implementing a budget designed to win them the election, the LNP government has not had that much to do. It has to finish the year by resorting to a classic Coalition strategy of introducing anti-union legislation to create the appearance of action.
This does nothing for young people and younger voters can expect little at either the federal or state levels as both deal with difficult economic conditions that ensures that their interests are sacrificed to old people’s interests.
And Mark McGowan can offer only vague promises to and heartfelt empathy for young people struggling with living on their own, getting a job and worrying about their planet.
Even if he had the will to do anything for young people, he doesn’t have the resources to do much.