Who will you vote for?
Melissa Stensholt, 18, will be voting Labor. "Because I agree with their ideologies." Photo: Katherine Griffiths
They have little time for the recent internal party disputes and express no great love for Kevin Rudd, but a chat to a group of first-time Canberra voters suggests many are prepared to back the Labor party in the impending election.
More than 10,000 young Canberrans are now enrolled and ready to vote in a federal election for the first time, and while many of those quizzed at the Australian Catholic University on Tuesday were still to make a choice, the majority look set to maintain the ACT's place as a Labor haven.
Ellie Heenan, 20, said she was leaning towards Labor despite a personal preference for the dumped and retiring Julia Gillard.
“I'm not a huge fan of Kevin Rudd, I liked Julia Gillard, I liked what she was about,” Ms Heenan said.
“I don't like all the arguments within Labor but I'll still support them – I feel the things they value, I value, education particularly,” she said.
Liam Doherty, 19, said the National Broadband Network was the issue guiding him to vote for the ALP.
“It's a good thing for everyone, a good resource,” Mr Doherty said.
“[The leadership change] does have an effect, it makes you think they still have some stuff to work out, but I'll still vote for Labor,” he said.
Melissa Stensholt said she supported the return of Mr Rudd to the top job.
“I was going to vote Labor anyway, but Kevin Rudd is a favourite,” Ms Stensholt said.
“I agree with their ideologies - things like gay marriage, refugee processing, the health sector, education,” she said.
Red Hill resident Monique Seaniger, 20, said she was torn between the two major parties, with economic management and government debt an important policy consideration.
“Finance is a bit of a concern for me – buying a house [one day], being a university student, paying tax [including] land tax – are we going to spend the next 20 years paying it back or is there a stable plan to pay it back?” Ms Seaniger said.
Nationwide polls shortly after Kevin Rudd's June 26 return to the top job showed he had a 60 per cent to 40 per cent personal advantage over tony Abbott among 18 to 34-year-olds.
A fifth of 18 to 24-year-old Canberrans are still to enrol to vote for the 2013 election.
What the young voters we spoke to had to say:
Ellie Heenan, 20, Lyons
Leaning towards Labor.
Key policy issues: education.
"I feel the things they value, I value, education particularly."
Emma Bailey, 19, Hackett
Leaning towards Andrew Leigh (Labor).
Key policy issues: Education.
"He's really interested in helping country kids come to university."
Melissa Stensholt, 18, Bonner
Key policy issues: Gay marriage, refugee processing, health, education.
“Because I agree with their ideologies.”
Tom O'Rourke, 18, Kaleen
Unsure who he is voting for.
Key policy issues: education, the environment, economic policy
“I'm unclear on what [the parties] really stand for.”
Liam Doherty, 19, Deakin
Key policy issues: NBN
“[The NBN] is a good thing for everyone, a good resource.”
Victoria Corcoran, 19, Hackett
Unsure who she is voting for.
Key policy issues: education and refugees.
“I'm just trying to find one that suits my beliefs.”
Monique Seaniger, 20, Red Hill
Unsure who she is voting for.
Key policy issues: economy, taxes
“I've lost a bit of confidence in the [Labor] party – when there's so much infighting between them it's hard to trust them, especially this close to an election.”