Greens want optional vote for ‘junior’

By 17 February 2006 38

It would be interesting to see where the re-hashing of the debate goes concerning the right to vote and who has it – some would say there are a lot of younger people out there who are ‘itching’ to vote that may have more to contribute than the small percentage of donkey voters or non-voters who feel they have every right to whine, but never inform themselves enough to bother voting or care about how their vote impacts upon an election outcome.

I don’t know whether it is accidental or not but the Greens PR below seems to be an attempt to entice the ALP govt to place the matter on the agenda (again). I’m not sure if the Liberals have a policy on this, but if those in their mid-teens were allowed the choice to vote, I’d be pretty sure a lot of the vote would go to the Greens/ALP rather than the Libs.

ACT Greens MLA Dr Deb Foskey today placed a motion on the notice paper calling for the ACT Assembly to support 16 and 17 years old ACT residents voting Assembly elections and referendums. The motion is expected to be debated in March.

“The ACT Greens would like to see 16 and 17 year olds given the option to vote in ACT elections and referendums, given we have the highest percentage of young people of any state and territory” Dr Foskey said today.

“From the age of 16 many young people are working, paying taxes, starting to drive, living independently, and thinking about entering tertiary education. They should be given some power to decide which government policies they want to see impacting on their lives.”

“I acknowledge that while there are many 16 and 17 years olds who are politically informed and itching to have a say, there are many others who are not yet interested, which is why I’m suggesting an optional vote”.

“This initiative may also provide another method of encouraging our young people to enrol, especially those aged 18 to 24, for it would give them a greater lead-in time and access to more practical civic education”.

“I look forward to Government ALP support for this idea, as it is on the ACT Labor Party 2005/06 Policy Platform.”

“It wasn’t that long ago that women, Indigenous people, and 18 to 21 years olds were considered ineligible and perhaps not well enough informed to vote. I think it is time once again to reconsider who is capable of making such a decision.”

“The Chief Minister has previously stated that he intends to secure ACT prisoners right to vote in 2006. The ACT Greens would also like him to consider the electoral rights of young people” Dr Foskey said.

Tough choice, but if there was a need for choice I’d say give the option to vote to younger people, but hold the vote for those incacerated until they re-enter society and are capable of fully contributing.

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38 Responses to
Greens want optional vote for ‘junior’
bonfire 12:08 pm
17 Feb 06

the lefty pinko teachers who kneejerk anti everything non left would unduly influence students.

a ridiculous idea, obviously pandering to their own core audience.

as soon as people gain any semblance of maturity they jettison whackjob ideas, many of which emanate from the ‘greens’.

this does not mean that there are not valid conservation and environmental issues, but the ‘greens’ seem to think they have some sort of ownership of the agenda, throw in all their other fruitloop ideas and lose any credibilty.

RandomGit 12:12 pm
17 Feb 06

People not assumed to have the ability to drink responsibly or even have sex safely being given a vote…….. riiiiiight.

barking toad 12:22 pm
17 Feb 06

Oh, ffs foskey, what a great big tree hugging hippie heap of crap. Make some worthwhile contribution to governance in the ACT instead of this shit. Did you really think of this yourself or is it something one of your advisers came up with – if so sack ‘em.

If it’s your idea then it confirms your irrelevance on the local council.

And fuck off out of public housing!

bulldog 12:32 pm
17 Feb 06

As bonfire states – they are targeting their core audience. The greens (watermelons) are all about hopeless ideals, and that us what you find in kids that have not yet had their spirits crushed by the hopeless reality of the big wide world.

Just another example of an MLA making noise because they have been too quiet of late.

Whilst I agree with the Toad’s sentiments, let’s not let this digress into another Public Housing strand – we all know where we stand on that subject.

colsim 12:34 pm
17 Feb 06

I’m not convinced that young people would vote left (Greens/ALP) at all. These are people who have only really known Howard as PM , have been statistically shown to skew conservative as a result of wanting to be on what they see as the winning side and have been far more influenced by the rightwing mainstream media than any purported left wing values from teachers.

I guess you’re not a fan of teachers Bonfire – people who enter a profession where they know they will never make the kind of money they could make in business because they’d rather make a contribution to society.

This contemporary teacher-scorn is just one more part of the anti-intellectualism poured forth by the right because they know that anyone with more than half a brain is a threat to the status-quo and pre-emptively labelling these people as extremist, elitists or politically motivated is a highly effective way to shut them down. The recent politicisation of the CSIRO is a classic case in point.

Ok, feel better now. :)

Kerces 12:38 pm
17 Feb 06

Not entirely sure if I agree with this or not, but here are a few points to consider:
* In the ACT people aged 15 and 9 months are considered mature enough to learn how to control a motor vehicle. They’re allowed to do it on their own at age 17.
* 16 is the legal age of consent — that is, the age at which the law considers people mature enough to have responsible sex.
* I don’t think drinking has anything much to do with voting.
* Because of the internet, young people these days generally have a pretty good idea of what’s going on in the world and could most likely make very well informed opinions.

bulldog 12:43 pm
17 Feb 06

K – I don’t know many sixteen/seventeen year olds, but I’mpretty certain that at that age I would be using the internet for one of two or three things, and none of them would include researching politics…

bonfire 12:46 pm
17 Feb 06

i come from a family of teachers.
close relatives were members of the cpa.

90% of the teachers i came in conact were unreconstucted leftist hippies.

if you think i didnt have to endure years of illogical dribble then youre very wrong. this from people you choose to raise your children while you earn money to feed and clothe them.

you want higher quality teachers, pay them properly. do you see the local alp raising their wages to be competitive with the rest of the market ?

i looked into becoming a teacher several years ago. i seriously could not take a pay drop of the scale required. even a headmaster earns sfa in comparison to his skills.

id quite enjoy being a history or economics teacher. and the kids of canberra miss out.

dont blame me, blame your lefty govt.

and i still dont think children should vote.

barking toad 12:56 pm
17 Feb 06

Is the sudden flurry of press releases from foskey on drivel topics driven by a realisation that an election will be announced in Tasmania today? The green vote there will unfortunately have an impact so is she trying to say “look at me, I’m relevant too”. Sorry, but you’re not.

Why don’t we extend her stupid idea to 13-15 year olds so we can have giggling teenage girls voting for whoever they think is teh hotness. Hell, take it even further, let ‘em vote by text messaging like the Logies or Australian Idol and get some money from the 1800 number to put towards the council deficit.

I’d be so rotflmao except I know the dud is serious.

bonfire 1:03 pm
17 Feb 06

j’aime for fashion minister

bulldog 1:09 pm
17 Feb 06

WTF is rotflmao?

Mr Evil 1:12 pm
17 Feb 06

And while we’re at it why not appeal to the teenage voter by holding an “ACT Govt Idol” competition. Whoever can ‘sing’ and dance the best would be declared Chief Minister.

Foskey: you really are a dick!

bulldog 1:20 pm
17 Feb 06

bahaha – “Dancing with the Tards”

No offence to handicapped people intended.

Indi 1:26 pm
17 Feb 06

rolling around on the floor laughin my ass off = rotflmao and that would apply to a text message election with all included nooode jelly wrestling!

Kerces 1:27 pm
17 Feb 06

Bulldog what I was trying to say was there’s a whole world of information out there that those in my generation have grown up with and are growing ever used to (there’s even a marked difference between myself and my borther who is three years younger in terms of having had access and how we now use it). No longer do voters have to rely solely on their local paper to tell them what to think, there are so many alternatives out there now(see RA’s coverage of the last election for example) that many older people might not be completely comfortable with accessing.

Also remember that what’s being proposed is an optional vote. So those who are likely to get out of their computer chairs and go vote are also likely to want to be informed before doing so and seek out the information.

Blamemonkey 1:27 pm
17 Feb 06

ROTFLMAO = Rolling On The Floor Laughing My Ass Off

bulldog 1:31 pm
17 Feb 06

I understood where you were coming from K – it’s just that from my recolaections of being that age I don’t recall people having the slightest interes in what was happening outside their own little sphere. Maybe the internet has changed kids – I don’t know and I don’t pretend to, but I do think that (judging others by my own standards), that at sixteen or seventeen even optional voting shoudl not be entertained.

In fact if I had my way you would have to sit a basic common-sense in order to vote and breed – regardless of age.

Absent Diane 1:53 pm
17 Feb 06

when I was 16 I thought socialism was cool, when i was 17 I was convinced that I was born to kill the antichrist… there is no good reason for kids have the vote!!!they are stupid and fanciful

Indi 1:55 pm
17 Feb 06

bulldog – your statement ‘In fact if I had my way you would have to sit a basic common-sense in order to vote and breed – regardless of age’ may have some legs.

Add to that you would have to know the difference between which party is in govt and who is in opposition (I’ve met so many people who just can’t tell the difference and therefore would not vote based on an informed decision about the differences in party policies.)

colsim 2:32 pm
17 Feb 06

I don’t see any particular benefits in extending the voting age beyond helping young people feel more connected to the process and I can see a range of practical hassles with it (electoral role managed by the Commonwealth)

But cutting people out of voting because they don’t know what’s happening outside their tiny little sphere or choose to watch the Idol final over the Election debate wouldn’t just take out 16 and 17 year olds.

caf 2:32 pm
17 Feb 06

Did you suddenly stop being stupid and fanciful on the night of your eighteenth birthday AD?

Perhaps you might like to entertain the notion that people mature at different rates and not everyone was like you at age seventeen.

johnboy 2:42 pm
17 Feb 06

Adults have to vote, do jury duty, and be fully accountable to the law for their actions.

Want to lower the age of majority? OK, i can see arguments both ways but let’s not split voting out.

Sure there are many kids who could make a more informed vote than many adults. But we don’t test for voting competence (many would say more is the pity).

If those informed kids who want to make a difference were serious they’d be manning the polling booths for the smaller parties which would do 10 times the good of their single vote.

Absent Diane 3:09 pm
17 Feb 06

Nope Im pretty sure most people mature at exactly the same age…I think what you are suggesting is very fanciful… are you 17???

Kerces 3:10 pm
17 Feb 06

I’d like to second caf’s comment. What makes a 16- or 17-year-old any different to an 18-year-old? In some cases it can be a matter of just days between a birthday and an election when the previously-underaged-kid can vote. What’s to say they’ve suddenly turned into a mature adult in those few days? Or that they weren’t mature before their birthday?

Last year I left my teens behind and I can tell you I felt no different on the day after my birthday from the day before it.

johnboy 3:23 pm
17 Feb 06

and yet regardless of a change in how you felt, the whole world changed around you.

some people will miss out on voting by a day no matter what threshold is set.

Blossy 4:04 pm
17 Feb 06

exactly Johnboy – we need a cut-off somewhere, why not leave it at what society currently sees as the “age of adulthood”?

If its moved to 16 or 17 because there’s “not much difference”, do we next change it to 14 or 15 to account for people who have a birthday two days before an election?

Leave it at 18, do our best to teach our kids to have a political conscience, and hope that one day, more voters will cast their votes in a considered way.

caf 5:49 pm
17 Feb 06

No AD, sadly I haven’t been 17 for quite some time, I am old and decrepit.

Does the old “no taxation without representation” battle-cry still apply?

jube 9:32 am
18 Feb 06

“but if those in their mid-teens were allowed the choice to vote, I’d be pretty sure a lot of the vote would go to the Greens/ALP rather than the Libs.”

Therefore, members of Greens/ALP have not progressed past the ideas of a mid-teen? Well, OK – in the case of the Greens, maybe…….

Indi 1:11 pm
19 Feb 06

Jube the segmentation that I outlined (yes a fairly broad sweeping statement that you picked up) is of great interest – political parties win elections because they are capable of reading what each age bracket wants from their political aspirants.

These statements by Alexander Downer suggest that the Liberals felt they had been successful in attracting more vote from those from around 18 up to 30, based on what would appear to be some form of polling:

his focus on ideas is particulalry important in attracting the young person’s vote – a group that has even lower party identification than the general population. (Bean, 2005)

There was once a time when it was conventional wisdom that young people were more likely to vote for left or center-left parties while older people were more likely to vote for center-right or conservative parties.

This is no longer the case.

In the last federal election, 43% of the under 25s, and 50% of those aged between 25 and 30 supported the Coalition parties.

Support for the Liberal Party among the 25-30 year old bracket was higher than the over 30s bracket and was particularly high amongst men – 62%. (Bean, 2005).

The Labor Party and many Baby Boomers still think that young people today are the same as they were when they were young – ideological, pacifist, and always seeking state solutions to problems (if not seeking outright socialism or Marxism).

I don’t believe that the majority of young people are like that today.

Young people today are far more pragmatic and don’t want the state intervening in their lives.

They see personal freedom as a given.

They want to listen to their own music, to make money, to invest in their future.

This personal freedom extends to their politics.

They are even less affiliated to political parties than the rest of the population and form their opinions based on the merits of the ideas.

Quality ideas are what counts and that is where the Liberal Party is doing well.

We may not be able to determine how a teenager will vote. It’s not about whether a party membership as you say ‘have not progressed past the ideas of a mid-teen’, the discussion is directed towards how political parties will be able to ‘secure’ the younger person’s vote. If any party maintains some form of policies that only ‘appear’ to be attracting the youth vote, you’ll probably find that very group of young people will most likely see through any shallow attempts and give their vote to another party.

Kerces 5:57 pm
19 Feb 06

Indi, the Harvard (author, date) style of citation is useless unless you also give us the full citation for the work you’re referencing.

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