Voting is a key part of the democratic process. It allows all citizens of a certain age to have a say on matters important to them. Voting in federal elections and referendums is compulsory for every Australian aged 18 and over.
But decisions made by elected governments – especially in areas such as education, health and energy – impact young people too. Legal and political voices have long called for Australia to lower the voting age to 16. After all, people under 18 can leave school, get a job, drive a car and pay taxes. So why not vote?
A parliamentary inquiry is currently looking into the issue. In the meantime, we asked five experts their views. Here’s what they said.
Five out of five experts said yes
Here are their detailed responses:
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Disclosures: Louise Phillips has received competitively awarded funding from The Spencer Foundation, and the Queensland Department of Education, and is a current member of the Early Childhood Australia and the Australian Association for Research in Education.
Philippa Collin has received funding from a range of government and quasi-government agencies (NHMRC, Australian Research Council, Department for Industry and Innovation, Western Australian Children’s Commissioner, UNICEF) as well as industry (Google, Navitas English) and non-profits (Multicultural Youth Affairs Network NSW and the Foundation for Young Australians). She is a member of the Technology and Well-being Roundtable and the Australian NGO Child Rights Task Force and an expert advisor to the Raising Children Network.