Expanding voting rights to 16 & 17 year olds

Australian Greens

ACT Greens welcome the New Zealand Labor Government’s announcement that it will draft legislation to expand voting rights to 16 & 17 year olds. The ACT Greens have a bill before the ACT Legislative Assembly right now to do the same thing.

In December 2021, ACT Greens spokesperson for Young People Johnathan Davis MLA and ACT Greens spokesperson for Democracy Andrew Braddock MLA tabled a co-sponsored Bill in the ACT Legislative Assembly that would expand voting rights to 16 & 17 year olds in ACT elections.

As stated by Johnathan Davis MLA

“In Argentina, Austria, Brazil, Cuba, Ecuador, Guernsey, Isle of Man, Jersey, Malta, Nicaragua and Scotland, the rights of young people to have their views reflected in the vote are realised,” Mr Davis said.

“Now our friends in New Zealand are on track to expand voting rights to 16 & 17 year olds. I call on ACT Labor and the Canberra Liberals to publicly support our campaign to secure voting rights for 16 & 17 year old Canberrans in ACT elections”.

As stated by Andrew Braddock MLA

“This is an opportunity for the ACT to empower 16 & 17 year olds to have a say at the next ACT election in 2024,” Mr Braddock said.

“ACT Government decisions including climate change resilience, planning decisions, and infrastructure spending affect young people for longer than any other Canberra voter.”

Background:

  • The New Zealand Government has announced that it will draft legislation to expand voting rights to 16 & 17 year olds after a landmark New Zeland Supreme Court ruling found that maintaining a voting age of 18 was discriminatory and breached the human rights of young people.
  • On 2 December 2021, Johnathan Davis MLA and Andrew Braddock MLA introduced the ‘Electoral Act Amendment Bill 2021’ in the ACT Legislative Assembly. The bill, which seeks to expand voting rights to 16 & 17 year olds for ACT elections, has undergone committee inquiry and now is the subject of negotiations with ACT Labor.
  • In addition, bills seeking to expand voting rights to 16 & 17 year olds are currently before the New South Wales, Victorian, and South Australian Parliaments.

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