The Victorian Greens will seek to lower the voting age for local government elections in a historic move when parliament resumes next week.
Sixteen and seventeen-year-olds would be given the optional right to vote in local council elections from 2022 if the Greens amendment to the Local Government Bill 2019 is passed in February.
There are roughly ten countries around the world that have already lowered the voting age, as well as several municipalities and states.
This is the first time the Greens have moved to lower the voting age in Victoria.
As stated by Victorian Greens spokesperson for youth, Sam Hibbins MP:
“Young people are now, more than ever, concerned about their future.
“Climate change, mental health, education and the cost of living are just some of the issues that young people are raising. They are engaging in our democracy and demanding change.
“Lowering the voting age for local government elections gives young people the perfect opportunity to truly ‘think global and act local’.
“Ultimately young people should have the opportunity to vote in elections at all levels and local government is a sensible place to start this reform.”
As stated by young Victorians, aged 16 – 17:
“Young people should be allowed to vote. We are the future and as such it is important that our voices are heard in the decisions of today. We deserve to have a say in who we want to lead and represent us.”
“I am lectured on responsibility by people older than me and then refused any due to an arbitrary number of years I have to fulfil, like a quota, to qualify for having the right to influence the world I live in.”
“As a young person, I care about the state of my community. Being able to vote in local elections would allow people like me to better engage with the rest of the community and begin practising civic participation.”