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.
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â€œThe 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 territoryâ€ Dr Foskey said today.
â€œFrom 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.â€
â€œI 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 Iâ€™m suggesting an optional voteâ€.
â€œThis 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 educationâ€.
â€œI look forward to Government ALP support for this idea, as it is on the ACT Labor Party 2005/06 Policy Platform.â€
â€œIt wasnâ€™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.â€
â€œThe 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 peopleâ€ 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.