OpinionPoliticsSocial issues

The Voting Age Has Been Lowered…What Now?

(ABC, 2016)

For us, living in Australia and being citizens of the world, we all have a right to try to make this place a little bit better for ourselves every day. If not, we and future generations, our future children, will face the repercussions.

Statistics from the Australian Electoral Commission show that 16,809,637 Australians are eligible to vote and only 16,176,487 are actually enrolled. This is a loss of 633,150 and even though it is not too bad compared to previous years, it is still in the ‘quite alarming’ topic of conversations.

In October this year, the Joint Standing Committee on Electoral Matters held a public hearing discussing the Commonwealth Electoral Amendment Bill concerning lowering the voting age to increase voter participation. This Bill was ultimately passed and subsequently enrolments will now be open for 14 to 15-year-olds, allowing them to be added onto the electoral roll to prepare themselves to vote when they are eligible; 16 and 17-year-olds are also now able to vote on a voluntary basis.

“What has this got to do with me Sophie?” I hear you ask. Well, good question.

By lowering the voting age, youth will feel a sense of freedom to express their opinion and it truly be counted for something. Many young people are now more involved in today’s news stories and how the government works, which is a step in the right direction; who is voting should be educated in what/who they are voting for. This still needs to be worked on, not only for young people but for all voters. Many just vote so they don’t get fined, but we should be voting for someone who connects with what we want for our great country in the future and believes in the government principles they are promoting.

My parents like to say, ‘it’s about picking the lesser of two evils’, because it’s a hard fact that not one candidate is going to tick all of your boxes. But we need to take in to consideration all aspects of what we want to get out of our candidates and who we think is best to lead our nation.

Many may think giving young adults and teenagers the power to vote for change is naive of the government, as these naysayers are still considering the voters in question as children. I personally think it will be an encouraging and uplifting moment when they are finally taken seriously.

Young people today truly care about climate change, equality and their country. This is their future and young people should have always had a say in it.

I am happy they finally do.

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