What's next?

Unpacking what the Government promised in relation to the issues that matter most to young people.


The election has wrapped up and is in the books.

Scott Morrison and the Liberal Party are in charge for the next three years. There’s a lot (A LOT) of articles circulating around the internet about what happened, why it happened, and who deserves credit/blame.

But, as the dust continues to settle and the noise calms down, what we’re left with is a returning government with policies that will impact the issues young people are passionate about.

In the lead up to the election, we asked young people what their top issues were.


Using those responses, and cross referencing them with the Liberal Party’s plan, let’s unpack what to expect, what to get excited about, and what’s got our concerns raised.


For a more indepth dive into what the Government committed to in their 2019-20 Federal Budget, check out our snapshot.


And, you can find a full list of the Government’s policies by clicking this link.


Climate Change

The Government’s Promise:

YACSA’s Take:

The Climate Solutions Fund has come under criticism for being enough of an investment and using rewards instead of punishments to decrease emissions. Here’s Olivier Yates, former CEO of the Clean Energy Finance Corporation (who ran as an independent in the election) discussing why the policy may not be all that great:


Notably, there is no plan to #StopAdani or to stop drilling the Bight, which were core issues brought forward by young people in the School Strike for Climate.

For a more detailed analysis of the Liberal Party environment policy, check out what the Australian Conservation Foundation had to say.


Mental Health and Wellbeing

The Government’s Promise:

YACSA’s Take:

Increasing funding for mental health services is a really positive step forward. The concern moving forward is that there’s currently a gap between ‘prevention and early intervention’ and ‘crisis support’ called the ‘missing middle’. A piece by Triple J Hack explored the missing middle, why there are service gaps, and what it’s like for young people in Adelaide who are struggling to get the mental health support they need.

YACSA has also advocated for years that access and quality of mental health services in rural and remote areas needs to improve pretty drastically. You can read what we have to say on the issue by clicking this link:

So - the idea is good and the funding is welcome. Listening to people who are experiencing the mental health system and continuing to adapt services to suit their needs is the vital next step.



We’re going to split this into ‘schools’ and ‘tertiary education’.


The Government’s Promise:

  • A commitment to the National Schools Chaplaincy program, with a new focus on anti-bullying. The program will put chaplains (people affiliated with a faith or religion) in schools to ‘provide pastoral care, run programs like breakfast clubs and coordinate volunteer activities’.

  • A plan to ‘make Catholic or independent schools more accessible’.

  • A policy to commit to a full implementation of NAPLAN.

 YACSA’s Take:

For us, any policy that mandatorily ties student well-being and care to religious institutions raises our concerns for what it will mean for LGBTIQ+ young people.

Tertiary Education

The Government’s Promise:

YACSA’s Take:

We’re fans of making education accessible for everyone, especially young people in regional and rural communities who are often the ones who miss out.

There are criticisms of the public interest test policy that you can read here.



We will split this topic into ‘employment’ and ‘unemployment’.


The Government’s Promise:

YACSA’s Take:

Brandon, one of our young members wrote a piece on the Smashed Avocado about the issues with PaTH, and you can read it by clicking here.

You can also read our story that explores how blaming young people, or creating policies that look to ‘fix’ young people, in an employment context are flawed and disingenuous. When there’s 22,500 young people trying to find work and only 9,500 jobs available, it’s time to stop blaming young people for the unemployment crisis.

In a nutshell, the Government will need to ensure that the placements, pathways and programs lead to meaningful, non-exploitative, safe and lead to real work opportunities and a living wage for these policies to be effective.



The Government’s Promise:

  • A commitment to ‘reinvigorate’ the Work for the Dole program.

  • A policy that will require those on welfare who are affected by drug and alcohol to undertake available treatment. There is also a plan to trial drug testing for people on Newstart and Youth Allowance, however the trial locations are not in South Australia.

  • The Government has indicated, without committing to anything in particular, that it intends to continue to roll out the ‘Cashless Welfare Card’ that restricts what those on welfare are able to purchase.

YACSA’s Take:

So, basically the Government’s approach is going to be to continue to add conditions to welfare as a means of disincentivising reliance on Newstart and Youth Allowance – and to force people to work in jobs that don’t exist.

Emily, a young member, wrote a story about her experiences with Work for the Dole, and how the program can have adverse effects, particularly for young people.

Discrimination and Inequality

The Government’s Promise:

  • The only policy we could find on the election platform page in this space was a commitment to women. The Liberal party committed to ‘Supporting Australian Women’ by focussing on jobs, child care, flexible parental leave, safety, health and sport.

YACSA’s Take:

We looked for policies that specifically aimed to help, support or promote Aboriginal people, gender and sexually diverse people, people of different cultural backgrounds and young people but couldn’t find anything.

We’re also coming off the back of a projected surplus that was significantly bolstered by an ‘underspend’ in funds for the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) – an underspend that disability advocates argued is due to problems accessing services, and not from a lack of demand.



In a fun little plot twist, we are getting a Youth Minister.

Ministers are members of parliament who are given special areas to focus on. Going into the election, the Labor party had promised a Minister for Young Australians but there was no promise from the Liberal party.

However, it has been announced that the Government is establishing a Minister for Youth and Sport, and it will be Tasmania Senator Richard Colbeck. We haven’t had a Minister for Youth since the Abbott Government scrapped it 6 years ago.

So. Good news. Hopefully.

You can check out all the Ministers in the Government’s new ‘Cabinet’ here.


OK, but what next?

Whatever your emotion is regarding the election result – anger, joy, sadness, rage, whatever – the challenge is to not let it become apathy. Don’t not care. Politics can be frustrating, but democracy is about more than elections. Look what happened with the marriage equality survey! Mid-election cycle, the people forced the hand of the Government by relentlessly letting their views and values be known. Whatever you’re passionate about, whatever change you want to see, whatever change you want to drive, go and do it. Spark passion in people who agree with you, be kind to those who don’t, and see what happens. Don’t wait for them to ‘give you a voice’. You’ve always had one. Go make it deafening. Drive change.