Petition EN2766 – Lower the National Voting Age to 16.
This is a petition that has been put forward to the Australian government to request that children under the age of 18 be permitted to vote in Federal elections.
Currently, the rules are that you must be 18 years old, and an Australian citizen to vote in an Australian Federal Election.
The wording of this petition request leaves a number of issues that appear detrimental to its acceptance.
At the age of 16 you have to pay tax. (but not on the first $18,200 of earned income.)
You’re also allowed to get married. (See Marriage at 16? below)
work full time and (See Work Full time at 16? below)
learn to drive. (See Driving at age 16? below)
give consent to medical procedures, (See Medical Consent at 16? below)
serve in the military, (See Join ADF at 16? below)
and in some cases, be prosecuted as an adult. (See Prosecuted as an Adult at 16? below)
So why can’t they have their say in democracy? When under 16s pay tax, they give $51 million in tax revenue. (Less than 95 cents in every $10,000 of the total taxation revenue collected in Australia in 2019-20.)
We therefore ask the House to allow voluntary voting for 16 and 17 year olds, and allow registration to vote for 14 and 15 year olds nationally.
In my view, the above Petition Reasons do not appear sufficient on there own, to justify that change. The reasons are shown below:
Issued to be considered:
Marriage at 16? To get married in Australia, you must be at least 18 years old, unless the parents have given permission and a court has approved a marriage for the under 18 year old. www.ag.gov.au
Work Full time at 16? Your child cannot leave schooling until they are 17 years old. (education.vic.gov.au)
Driving at age 16? The minimum driving age is 17 in most Australian states, (Victoria is 18). A learner can drive at the age of 16 in some states, under the supervision of a fully licensed adult.
Medical Consent at 16? Consent for the medical treatment of patients who are under 18 years of age is generally provided by parents or guardians in Australia. (racgp.org.au)
Join ADF at 16? You can join the ADF at 17, as a ‘minor’ and your application must be approved in writing by your parents or your legal guardians. Defence policy restricts the employment of personnel under 18 years of age on operations where hostile action is likely. (defencejobs.gov.au)
Prosecuted as an Adult at 16? Until 2018, Queensland was the only state where 17 year olds were subject to the adult criminal justice system. This changed in February 2018, and the threshold for a young person to be treated as an adult in the criminal justice system became 18 years in all States. (yac.net.au)
The Petition is at: www.aph.gov.au/e-petitions/petition/EN2766
As at 17 June 2021 this petition has had 4 signatures and expires on 14 July 2021.