Bill Shorten Says Australia Should Lower The Voting Age To 16

In a speech yesterday to the New South Wales Young Labor conference, opposition leader Bill Shorten proposed changes to the Australian electoral system that would see the voting age lowered to 16. 
Shorten believes that young Australians do not currently see their views reflected in parliament, but still want to be involved in decision-making, and should be offered the opportunity to do so.
He added that, in the financial year 2013-14, 17,000 Australians aged under 18 paid $41 million in taxes, on top of the money already paid via the country’s GST. On this basis, he said:
“[If] Australia trusts our 16 and 17 year old citizens to pay tax and work; to join the military; to drive on our roads; to fly a plane; to make independent decisions about their medical care, then we, the Parliament of Australia, should extend that trust to include a direct, empowered say in our democracy.”
Voter enrolments among young people in Australia remain low, with 400,000 people who turned 18 between the years 2010 and 2013 failing to enrol to vote in the last federal election. 
Shorten believes that lowering the voting age and giving younger Australians a say will fix this problem, where political rhetoric and fines and penalties from the AEC have failed in the past.
Laying on a bit of rhetoric just in case, he added:
“Australia can’t overcome the challenges of the next 15-20 years, the challenges of the next generation, without your generation. We need your ideas, your energy, your ambition for our nation to be the best it can be. Young Australians like you deserve the right to shape the laws and policies that shape your lives.”
via News Corp
Photo: Stefan Postles via Getty Images