It's rubbish: TikTok MP trashes 'lazy' youth cliche
Older people are not properly engaging with young people on matters that affect them, one of Australia's most popular MPs on TikTok says.
Amid a housing crisis, changing climate and difficulties accessing mental health services, young people had a large stake in and cared deeply about the future, Rose Jackson said.
But the idea youth were ill-mannered, lazy and apathetic about the world around them persisted.
"The problem with this well-worn cliche is, of course, it's total rubbish," the NSW Youth and Housing Minister said on Monday.
"It's not young people who are lazy and careless - it's older generations who are too lazy and careless to show up to the platforms in the forums that young people inhabit to engage them in the conversations they want to have."
Ms Jackson has gone some way to step into youth spaces, courting 27,000 followers on TikTok.
Federal Labor backbencher Julian Hill (145,000) and Queensland Opposition Leader David Crisafulli (29,700) are among the few politicians ahead of her.
But the NSW minister conceded her own government's splintered approach to young people was rooted in traditional politics and it was unclear how youth voices were captured, projected and heard by decision-makers.
Greens MP Stephen Bates represents one of the highest youth populations in federal parliament, with one in four voters in his seat of Brisbane younger than 30.
He said it was important to recognise the problems young people faced were real - and different from those of 30 years ago.
"We meet young people where they are at and talk about the reality they're facing - a cooked economy, a worsening climate, a housing crisis, piling debt," the party's youth spokesman told AAP.
"These are real issues and it's not unreasonable to be worried about them."
He said engaging with young people was about more than speaking to issues they cared about.
"It's about recognising that young people have unique demands on their time and attention and making sure you talk with them in a way that respects that," he said.
The Youth Affairs Council of Victoria suggests less formal approaches can be more effective in engaging young people than advisory bodies and committees.
"Different young people will want to become involved in different ways so it's important to have a range of opportunities available," it says.
For her part, Ms Jackson on Monday announced NSW would develop a centralised youth agency that could reach across government and provide advice on a range of issues.
Broadening the work of the Advocate for Children and Young People NSW or developing something resembling the groundbreaking Future Generations Commissioner for Wales were among the options on the table.
"If we're thoughtful about some new models, we can actually do some cool stuff," she told a forum on Monday.
A consultation process with young people will begin this year.
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