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|By Tiarne Swersky
MELBOURNE， June 23 (Xinhua) -- Australians will go to the polls on July 2 to elect the new federal government， but it seems a growing number of young voters are choosing not to participate in the democratic process， having become deeply disenchanted with politics.
With just over 250，000 of Australia's 18-24 years old people not enrolled to vote in the election， the disengagement of Australia's youth in politics is puzzling commentators and worrying political leaders.
Research suggested this age group is keenly interested in specialist issues -- such as the environment， asylum seekers or gay marriage -- but are left cold by the day-to-day political machinations in Canberra.
According to statistics by Australia's Electoral Commission (AEC)， around 816，000 eligible Australian voters did not enroll to vote， out of an estimated enrolment population of almost 16，500，000， and almost a third of them are under the age of 25.
The conversation in Australia is now focussed on why so many young people feel disenfranchised by the political process.
In an interview with Xinhua， the Australian Greens Party candidate for Warringah， Clara Williams-Roldan， said young Australians cared about politics， but remained disenchanted by the government.
"I think it's a general feeling of your voice not being heard and feeling like your vote is not making a difference. Especially because you see so much youth engagement around youth issues at rallies to do with treatment of refugees and gay marriage. You see a huge amount of youth engagement there. So it seems a bit confusing. They obviously care， but they don't vote，" Williams-Roldan told Xinhua.
The 24-year-old candidate， who is running in the seat held by former Prime Minister Tony Abbott， said the reasons for youth disengagement must be put back onto the politicians.
"We've heard it all before -- young people are too busy doing X， Y and Z to engage in politics，" Williams-Roldan told Xinhua.
"This time around I think that's really untrue -- young people care， they care so much， but we're not seeing that in the political sphere. We need to turn the light back on the politicians -- what are you doing to stop this feeling of disengagement?"
Politicians are aware of the turn-off factor among the youth. Late last year， Federal Opposition Leader Bill Shorten called for the Australian voting age to be lowered to 16 to try to alleviate the issue.
A lot of young Australians care about many issues， including youth issues， which affect them directly. But what has perhaps been overlooked or unrecognized is the way in which these young people have engaged in these issues， according to the University of Melbourne's Election Watch editor， Catherine Harper.
"The youth are not becoming members of the Liberal Party or the Labor Party， but they are engaging in a number of ways. For example， young people may boycott consumer products that may not be ethically produced. They share political commentary on social media. They may start their own petitions or join a non-government organization. And they go to rallies for issues they believe in，" Harper told Xinhua.
Despite Australia's youth being involved in politics in unorthodox ways， Harper echoed Williams-Roldan's sentiments regarding their disenchantment with the government.
"A lot of young people feel like politicians and political parties don't represent them properly，" she said. "That's a big issue in a democratic society. Distrust of politicians is another major issue."
"They don't feel their vote has any influence and that it doesn't make a difference. That's a widespread feeling shared amongst a lot of young people."
Harper told Xinhua this week that traditional party politics was something the youth may become involved in as they got older.
"You may not want to think about the economy and tax， and unemployment rates when you are 18. But when you get a mortgage and family， those things become more important and you're more likely to engage in some more serious discussions on that because they will affect you，" she said.
Despite political initiatives which encourage youth engagement and are driven by Australian university students， such as UniPoll Watch and Enrol 4 Change， there is still a widespread feeling that the youth are tapped out of Australian politics.
The leadership instability over the past five years in Australia hasn't helped this notion. With five different prime ministers over the past five years， it is hardly surprising that young Australians remain disillusioned by the political system.
Politicians have a host of important responsibilities and duties， but both Harper and Williams-Roldan suggest that engaging the country's young people should become a top-order priority.
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