Driving civics engagement amid election fever

By Angela Dorizas

The Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) estimates that more than 1.4 Australians who are eligible to vote in the Federal election will not be enrolled in time and therefore disqualified from participating.

The majority of these are young Australians, some of whom are unaware that Australia has a democratic system of government.

The Constitution Education Fund Australia (CEFA) is seeking to counter such disengagement through the AusCivics campaign and film festivals.

CEFA executive director Kerry Jones says the campaigns are particularly targeted towards young people.

“All surveys show that over half of Australia’s youth don’t know Australia is a democracy, or don’t care,” Jones tells Government News.

“That’s a real worry. What we’re doing is building up interest in our Australian Constitution and government.”

The campaign for civics engagement is particularly important given it is an election year, she adds.

“Voting and understanding the importance of voting is just critical to our democracy.”

Local governments across Australia have been invited to participate in the AusCivics Film Festivals, with many signing up to host the event in their local community.

The festivals will be launched in Broken Hill on September 11, before kicking off in more than 300 venues across the nation. They will feature educational films, with school students in grades 5 to 12 invited and expected to attend.

Jones says local government has shown “wonderful support” for the campaign but greater involvement would be welcome.

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