63% of young Aussie voters biased due to politicians’ online behaviour

Kara Hinesley, Public Policy Director, Twitter ANZ

New research from Twitter Australia reveals that a politician’s online actions and behaviour are extremely important to young Australians aged 18 to 24, with 63% of the research respondents saying this would influence their vote, compared to 47% of the total population.

Conducted in partnership with YouGov, also found more than one in three young Australians believe action on climate change to be the most important political issue when deciding who to vote for, followed by the economy and healthcare (including COVID-19).

With the Federal Election being held on 21 May, Twitter Australia and the Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) are encouraging Aussies to register to vote and have their voices heard.

What role is Twitter playing in the Aussie political vehicle?

Based on the most recent statistics from the AEC, 17.1 million Australians, or 96.5% of the estimated proportion of eligible Australians, are enrolled to vote. While still remarkably high by international standards, by comparison the national youth enrolment rate is considerably lower – 84.4% with over 1.2 million people aged 18-24 years old enrolled to vote.

“The public conversation on Twitter is vital than ever this season, with research showing over one third of young Australians will get the majority of their political information from social media during the election campaign,” said Kara Hinesley, Public Policy Director, Twitter ANZ.

“This is why Twitter is encouraging first-time voters going to the polls to share their #MyFirstDemocracySausage experience on Twitter and showcase their political power.”

Having a #DemocracySausage on election day is a cornerstone of Australian democracy — and Australians take to Twitter to discuss the political issues, topics, and candidates that matter to them most, as well as the sweet taste of electoral participation.

How can you be part of the action?

Regardless of whether you believe the sausage or onion goes first, our Australia Election emoji will appear from today whenever people Tweet using any of the following hashtags:

“We’re thrilled to see this drive for young Australians share their #MyFirstDemocracySausage experience, and support Twitter’s efforts to elevate reliable information on their service during this year’s Federal Election,” said AEC digital engagement director Evan Ekin-Smyth.

“Young people can enrol to vote now at www.aec.gov.au/enrol including people who are 17 years old but turn 18 on or before election day. Even if you’re not a first-time voter, eligible Australians should keep their enrolment up to date before the electoral roll closes.”

What bad online behaviour from pollies is a turn off?

Twitter’s research showed that 80% of young people would be turned off voting for a politician that spread misinformation online. Other leading turn offs include participating in online fights (53%) and if a politician were to criticise their opponent on social media (30%).

Online behaviours that bias young people for a politician include encouraging civic debate (30%), community impact (29%), and responding to constituents’ requests for help (16%).

“Twitter is where people come to for credible information about where, when, and how to vote. We are committed to facilitating meaningful political debate, driving civic participation, and protecting the integrity of the election conversation from manipulation,” Hinesley added.

If you’re voting at a Federal Election for the first time, use #MyFirstDemocracySausage as your hashtag to encourage your friends to enrol to vote, express what political issues are important to you, and share your spicy #DemocracySausage opinions!

Follow #MyFirstDemocracySausage and get voter enrolment information on Twitter here.