The Future Of Australia – A Survey Of The Values And Beliefs Of Young Australians

Written by:
1 December 2023
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In July, the Institute of Public Affairs commissioned independent market research agency Insightfully to ask 800 Australians aged 16-25 a series of  11 questions about public policy. This report analyses their attitudes towards the role of government and what this might say about the political preferences of young Australians.

Young Australians are aspirational but believe they will be worse off than their parents

  • Pessimism about the future has increased from 49 per cent in 2016 to 64 per cent in 2023.
  • Two-thirds of young Australians believe they will own their own home within two decades
  • Two-thirds of young Australians harbour ambitions as future business owners.

Young Australians prefer a small government that prioritises cost-of-living

  • A majority of young Australians prefer a smaller government, providing fewer services with low taxes.
  • Young Australians overwhelmingly agree that the federal budget deficit and national debt are a major problem.
  • Lowering cost-of-living is more than twice as important to young Australians than any other issue.

Young Australians strongly oppose censorship and believe that activism has gone too far

  • A clear majority of young Australians explicitly oppose censorship.
  • 83 per cent of young Australians think more people today are overly sensitive and likely to take offence at ideas they disagree with.
  • 63 per cent of young Australians agreed that LGBTQ activists have gone too far and are now imposing their views on other Australians.

Young Australian men and women are fundamentally divided by feminism

  • More than 50 per cent of young Australians either disagreed that women are sometimes given preferential treatment, or thought that if it was happening, it was a good thing.
  • 45 per cent of respondents agreed that women are given preferential treatment over men, with twice as many men agreeing than women.
  • Men largely think feminism has gone too far and preferential treatment for women is not right. Women largely do not think they receive preferential treatment or if they do, they think it is right.

The data does not show young Australians have deserted the right

  • This survey questions the popular narrative that most young Australians are committed to the ideological left. It shows that the majority believe in traditional centre-right values.
  • Young Australians are looking for leadership. Political parties on the centre-right have an opportunity to engage with young people on issues like home ownership and cost-of-living.
  • Centre-right parties must stand for centre-right values. If they become too similar to their left-leaning rivals, Australians will vote based on factors like aesthetics, branding, or messaging.

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