Expand our democracy - the Greens have just announced a bill to give 16 and 17 year olds in NSW the right to vote in State and local government elections.
Greens NSW MP and spokesperson for young people, Abigail Boyd, has today given notice in Parliament of the Greens' Electoral Amendment (Voting Age) Bill 2022.
The Voting Age Bill makes a legislatively simple, but socially profound, amendment to the Electoral Act 2017 - to entitle persons over the age of 16 years old to vote in elections in New South Wales.
The Bill would permit, but not oblige, 16 and 17 year olds to vote in NSW elections, meaning that there would be no penalty for these newly empowered young people for not voting if they were unwilling, unable or unaware of the option to exercise this democratic right.
The bill will also entitle persons over the age of 14 years old to enrol to vote in preparation.
Comments attributable to Abigail Boyd:
"There is a massive amount of political engagement and desire for change from young people, as youth led activist movements have shown us around the world and in Australia."
"Young people in NSW already work and pay taxes. We accept they're old enough to open a bank account, learn to drive, have sex - they can even be criminally charged as an adult and go to prison. It's time they were empowered to exercise their voice in our democracy too."
"We hear the major parties banging on about how they value young people, but they're usually focused on what young people will grow up to become. What gets overlooked is that young people have something important to say right now - they offer society a fresh vision and ideas, they push us to do things in a better way. When we give 16 and 17 year olds the right to vote, we not only recognise that young people have something valuable to say, we also provide an incentive for political parties to listen and engage with their ideas."
"We recently went through a number of by-elections across the state, and next year will see a statewide election. This is the right time to expand the right to vote and give young people a voice in the future of our state."
Media contact Angus Hoy for Abigail Boyd - 0416 130 969