Greens want more Aussie teens to have the right to vote

THE Greens have compared denying 16 and 17-year-olds the right to vote with the disenfranchisement of women and Aborigines last century.

Lee Rhiannon, the Greens' democracy spokeswoman, has called on recently appointed Children's Commissioner Megan Mitchell to examine lowering the voting age from 18.

She said such a review, which would involve canvassing the views of young people and the community in general, would kick-start the reform process.

It came in response to ANU research which advised against enfranchising 16 and 17-year-olds.

"Young people are, by nature, curious enthusiasts. Denying them the vote serves to diminish their engagement with politics and silence their voice on Australia's future," Senator Rhiannon said.

"Denying young people the right to vote sends the wrong message that their views on democracy are cheap and cannot be trusted."

Senator Rhiannon said Professor Ian McAllister's findings went against international trends.

She cited lower voting ages in East Timor, Indonesia, Austria, Argentina and Brazil.

"History shows that the dubious arguments used against lowering the voting age were also employed to deny women and Aboriginals the vote," she said.

"At 16 young people can leave home, work, pay tax and join the defence force."


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