Momentum grows for lowering voting age as Greens - local and national - fight for reform


Today the Australian Greens have introduced a bill in the House of Representatives to lower the voting age to 16, marking another major milestone towards this important electoral reform.

Greens MP Adam Bandt introduced a Bill to lower the voting age to the House of Representatives this morning. It comes only days after the ACT Greens recently called for the introduction of voting for 16 and 17 year olds in the 2020 Territory election.

“In recent months, we’ve seen millions of young people getting involved in our political process. Across the world, the ‘School Strikers for Climate Action’ made clear that young people want to be more engaged than ever in the decisions that will shape their entire future,” ACT Greens Democracy spokesperson Caroline Le Couteur said today.

“It’s great to see momentum building around this all too important issue.

“I’d particularly like to note the work of my colleague Senator Jordon Steele-John who has worked extensively on this issue. It’s the major parties are holding up this all important process, both at the local and federal level.

“If young people wish to take part in our democracy, the Greens think they should have that opportunity. That’s why we’re advocating for young Canberrans aged 16 and 17 to be given a chance to vote before they reach the age of 18 – to ensure their voices are heard where it matters most: at the ballot box. 

“16 and 17 year olds can legally work full-time. If they are working, they pay taxes. They can drive a car, have sex and make medical decisions about their bodies. They can join the Army, Navy or Air Force. They can sign a lease, or join a political party[1] – yet they can’t vote.”

If realised, this proposal could well see 16 and 17 year olds given the opportunity to vote in time for the 2020 ACT Election.

Based on data from the last census, the Greens estimate that this would allow at least 8,500 16 and 17 year olds to vote in the 2020 ACT election.

There are around 10 countries around the world that have lowered the voting age, and all of these show an increase in participation. In Austria, where voting was lowered to 16 a decade ago, elections have shown that 16 to 18 year olds vote at higher rates than 18-25 year olds.

The Greens have been advocating for the voting age be lowered for over a decade

Statement ends

Lisa Wills       M 0481 035 764

[1] You can join the Federal Liberal Party at 16, and you can join the Labor Party at 14.