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High school student stands against Environment Minister in federal seat


One of Australia’s youngest-ever political candidates has launched his federal election campaign as he takes on Farrer Liberal MP and Environment Minister Sussan Ley. 

Albury-based Year 12 student Eli Davern will run as the Greens candidate for Farrer in the upcoming election, due to be held in May.

He will be the party’s youngest-ever candidate to contest a federal election. 

The 18-year-old former Albury Youth Mayor said he did not expect his age to work against him as he believed people were agitating for change, and would focus his campaign on mental health, LGBTQIA-plus rights, and climate change.

“I think it says more about the current state of politics and just how cooked things are and how someone my age wants to run for parliament to fix it,” he said.

“I am not somebody who is doing this for the attention, for a bit of a fun thing to do, I am doing this because I am passionate about our community, I’m passionate about getting things done, and I’m passionate about kicking out the Liberal government.”

Mr Davern said it was also a great opportunity for someone his age to challenge Ms Ley for the seat after the Federal Court last month ruled in her favour when she successfully argued she did not have a duty of care as Environment Minister to protect young people from climate change when assessing fossil fuel projects.

“I think it’s really exciting that there’s a young candidate who is taking on Sussan Ley to say she does have responsibility to young people, and I am willing to take that fight on to her,” he said.

Youth in parliament

In Australia a person must be aged 18 or over to stand for election to public office at federal, state or local government level.

The youngest person elected to the Australian parliament was Wyatt Roy in the Queensland seat of Longman in 2010. He was 20 years, two months, and 30 days old.

Mr Davern said despite hoping to bring “energy” and “drive” to his campaign, covering the entire Farrer electorate — an area of about 247,097 square kilometres stretching across southern and western New South Wales — could be a challenge amid his school commitments.

A teenage boy stands on a stage in a park and addresses the crowd
Eli Davern speaks at a School Strike 4 Climate protest in 2019 just outside of Farrer MP Sussan Ley’s office.(Facebook)

“As a high school student my capacity to travel across the huge electorate at the moment is rather limited, but I am really fortunate I have got the number two Greens NSW Senate candidate Dr Amanda Cohn here in Albury as well, who will be travelling around the electorate as well.”

“I really hope as a young candidate I am able to bring that energy and drive that I think people are missing.”



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