News National Shorten: lower voting age to 16

Shorten: lower voting age to 16

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Caleb Bond, 16, does not think some of his peers can be trusted with the vote.

The Adelaide student said many of his mates are apathetic towards politics and do not really care about having the ability to decide the nation’s future.

“Most really don’t know what they’re doing,” the conservative political commentator told AAP on Saturday.

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Labor leader Bill Shorten thinks otherwise and wants to lower the voting age.

Mr Shorten argues 16- and 17-year olds can be relied upon to pay taxes, join the military, drive and even fly planes – and voting should be no exception.

“We’re saying to Australia’s young people … we trust you,” Mr Shorten told reporters in Sydney on Saturday.

He said the nation cannot resolve issues over climate change and marriage equality without their say.

But the federal government has dismissed the proposal as an attention-grabbing ploy by an opposition leader waning in the polls.

Cabinet minister Mathias Cormann sees 18 as the line in the sand when it comes to the voting age, and he does not believe Mr Shorten’s idea would gain much public support.

“This is really just a gimmick,” Mr Cormann told Sky News.

If anything, it would potentially benefit the Australian Greens, the minister said.

The Greens are celebrating the prospect, arguing it would be in the national interest.

“Good on Labor for moving towards the Greens’ long-held view,” party leader Richard Di Natale told reporters in Melbourne.

Family First senator Bob Day said the proposal was no more than a political stunt aimed at capturing younger voters from the Greens.

Caleb Bond said young people are left-leaning and opinionated on emotive issues, rather than issues like the economy.

They should understand the ramifications of their decision and how the political system works.

“I think you would see a hell of a lot of young people not even turn up or do a donkey vote because they just don’t understand it or they just don’t care,” he said.

“But if people understood what they were doing, then I don’t think it’s an altogether bad idea.”



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