Climate change agenda behind new push to lower Australia's voting age

Greens get crossbench support for campaign to lower the voting age to just 16, following New Zealand's lead in challenging the status quo

Climate change agenda behind new push to lower Australia's voting age
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Teal MP Monique Ryan will introduce legislation to lower the voting age so teenagers can influence climate change policy.

Ryan said it was important young people were able to vote on issues that “will impact them more”, like climate change.

“We should have legislation on this,” she said. “I propose to extend the vote to people aged 16 and 17, making it mandatory but with no fines in the event they don’t vote.”

Ryan said she would introduce a private members bill to lower the voting age when parliament resumed next year.

She would also push for schools to provide greater civics education.

Ryan said numbers of people had asked her about lowering the voting age when she was campaigning to win the Victorian seat of Kooyong.

Said she that if teenagers were able to work, and pay taxes, and have children then they were old enough to vote.

Unlike adults though, hey should not be fined if they failed to vote, she argued.

“There are certain issues that young people are particularly concerned will impact them more, such as climate change.”

The Greens, who have long supported a lower voting age, welcomed crossbench support for the idea.

Greens youth spokesperson Stephen Bates said the push for 16-year-olds to vote in New Zealand had given impetus to the movement in Australia.

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  • By Avi Yemini

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