Generational Bias: How the Deck is Stacked Against Young Australians

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The current generation of homebuyers, also known as millennials, face more challenges than previous generations. These obstacles have influenced their voting behaviour.

At the beginning of the 21st century, Australia intentionally stopped following policies that ensured equal wealth distribution as people worked and aged. These policies were replaced by ones that increased the wealth of those already wealthy. The negative consequences of these policies are now affecting both younger generations and the political parties responsible for implementing them twenty years later.

A chart on Twitter shows that unlike baby boomers and Gen Xers, millennials in the US are not becoming more conservative as they age. Similar findings were found in the most recent Australian Election Study, which showed that people are becoming less likely to vote conservatively and less likely to do so than people in their age group 20 or 30 years ago.

The demographic shift we are currently experiencing was identified as a potential issue in 2009. This shift is due to prioritising protecting corporate profits over providing fair rewards for workers’ productivity growth. A recent report from my colleagues at the Australia Institute shows that over the past decade, more than 90% of the benefits of economic growth went to the top 10% of the wealthiest individuals.

Alison Pennington’s book, “Gen F’d,” aptly describes the generation shaped by the past 25 years or more of economic and political conditions.

“Millennials have been dealt a bad hand,” Pennington writes. “The deck has been stacked against them, with policies prioritising protecting corporate profits over providing fair rewards for workers’ productivity and ensuring wealthy individuals benefit more than the rest of society.”

It’s no wonder that Australians aged 18-34 are four times as likely to vote for a minor party than their elders. They’re also four times more likely to be renters and half as likely to own their own home, which has long been a signifier of financial security.

The deck may be stacked against them, but young Australians are fighting back and raising their voices. They’re calling for better education and training opportunities, fairer job access, higher wages and more affordable housing. It may not be easy, but it’s a fight that needs to be fought – one in which we all have a stake.

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