Let's Talk: Lowering the Voting Age
Democracy doesn’t start and end at the ballot box, but without a vote you don’t have a voice. In the shadow of a federal election, and with a NSW election just around the corner, it’s become clear that our current election laws leave politically engaged, impassioned young people voiceless and frustrated.
That’s not just unfair, it’s also bad public policy. Academic studies of other country that have already lowered their voting age to 16 have shown that lowering the voting age results in higher political engagement and political trust which is then carried into adulthood.
In NSW, people aged 16 are allowed to work, have a bank account, pay taxes, learn to drive, leave school and begin full-time employment, and even be criminally charged as an adult. It’s time they were empowered to exercise their voice in our democracy too.
By giving 16 and 17 year olds the choice to vote, we will not only be empowering these individuals but also strengthening our democracy and our community.
I’m delighted to be joined for this discussion by Dr Faith Gordon (ANU Law & Director of the Interdisciplinary Youth Justice Network), Rachael Jacobs (Greens Candidate for Grayndler) and NSW Young Greens representatives.