Voting is a key part of the democratic process. It allows all citizens of a certain age to have a say on matters important to them. Voting in federal elections and referendums is compulsory for every Australian aged 18 and over.
But decisions made by elected governments – especially in areas such as education, health and energy – impact young people too. Legal and political voices have long called for Australia to lower the voting age to 16. After all, people under 18 can leave school, get a job, drive a car and pay taxes. So why not vote?
A parliamentary inquiry is currently looking into the issue. In the meantime, we asked five experts their views. Here’s what they said.
Here are their detailed responses:
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Disclosures: Louise Phillips has received competitively awarded funding from The Spencer Foundation, and the Queensland Department of Education, and is a current member of the Early Childhood Australia and the Australian Association for Research in Education.
Philippa Collin has received funding from a range of government and quasi-government agencies (NHMRC, Australian Research Council, Department for Industry and Innovation, Western Australian Children’s Commissioner, UNICEF) as well as industry (Google, Navitas English) and non-profits (Multicultural Youth Affairs Network NSW and the Foundation for Young Australians). She is a member of the Technology and Well-being Roundtable and the Australian NGO Child Rights Task Force and an expert advisor to the Raising Children Network.
Authors: Sasha Petrova, Section Editor: Education