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Political, Youth

Move to lower the voting age in the ACT: expert available

RMIT University 2 mins read

An expert from RMIT University is available to talk to media about the upcoming bill to lower the voting age in the ACT to 16 and why younger Australians urgently need a voice.

Dr Judith Bessant, Professor of Politics, RMIT University 

Topics:  politics, youth studies, policy, sociology 

“On 21 September, the Greens in the Australian Capital Territory will reintroduce a bill to the Legislative Assembly that proposes giving 16 and 17 years-olds the vote.  

“If successful, young Canberrans will be the first Australians under 18 able to vote.  

“Young people have been significantly effected by events such as the COVID-19 pandemic and the ongoing impacts of climate change, however they are left out of key decision-making forums. 

“The best way to help counter this invisibility and the harms it causes, is to ensure that 16- and 17-year-olds have the right to vote in our parliamentary system.    

“It is still being claimed by some that young people are too emotional, not rational enough, don’t know enough or are too dependent to be allowed to vote.   

“There is plenty of credible evidence showing that countries like Scotland or Austria, which have lowered the voting age to 16, have seen improvement in the democratic processes.    

“We have the chance to enhance our democracy by making it more inclusive. 

“The reality is that even while many young people are not recognised, or are excluded from public life, they are making their voices heard about the key issues of the day like climate change.  

“For example, ACT Greens spokesperson on democracy, Andrew Braddock MLA, has been working with the Youth Coalition of the ACT and the local Make It 16 campaign to develop the new bill. 

Judith Bessant is a Professor at RMIT University’s School of Global, Urban and Social Studies. She researches and writes in the fields of politics, youth studies, policy, sociology, media-technology studies and history. 

Contact details:

Interviews: Judith Bessant, 0413 551 505, 

General media enquiries: RMIT External Affairs and Media, 0439 704 077 or 

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