ACT Greens Slam Labor for Denying Youth Voting Rights

Australian Greens

Today, ACT Labor joined with the Canberra Liberals to deny 16- and 17-year-olds the right to vote at Territory elections.

"When pushed, Labor today voted to deny 16- and 17-year-olds the right to vote" said Andrew Braddock, ACT Greens spokesperson for Democracy.

"From education to the climate crisis, young people have a clear stake in the future of our territory.

"It's wrong to deny them the right have a voice in this future.

ACT Greens Spokesperson for young people Johnathan Davis also supported the bill, explain why he believed young people were more than ready.

"We've decided that 16-year-olds can work and pay taxes. We've decided that they can drive a car and consent to their own medical procedures. We should be recognising that they clearly have the maturity and cognitive ability to vote", Mr Davis said.

"Mr Braddock and I put this bill on the notice paper almost two years ago. In that time, we have engaged with the community, young people and other stakeholders, and even those opposed to the idea. The result was a comprehensive bill which would have enhanced our democracy.

The comprehensive bill was endorsed by the ACT attorney general Shane Rattenbury, who dismissed legal concerns over the bill.

"I'm confident there is no legal impediment to lowering the voting age as The Greens proposed. We have a sound and workable model" stated Minister Rattenbury.

A key group involved in pushing for the change are the youth led Make it 16 Australia. Before the motion was moved, members of the group joined Mr Braddock and Mr Davis in a press conference to advocate for their right to vote.

Members of the group were also in the Legislative Assembly's viewing gallery to view the debate over the motion.

The ACT Greens maintain their strong support for lowering the voting age, and will continue to campaign for it, particularly in the lead up to the next election.

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