Cassy O'Connor MP | Greens Leader
In a time of climate emergency, with the student climate strike movement growing, we know how desperate young people are to be able to be seen and heard by law makers.
The Greens’ Electoral Amendment (Voting Age) Bill 2021 would have given 16 and 17 year olds who want to participate in Tasmania’s democracy the chance to do so at the ballot box. Unfortunately, just as they ignore school strikers’ pleas for climate action, both the Liberals and Labor voted against it in Parliament today.
Thousands of young people are denied the precious democratic right – a vote. They are forced to watch in frustration from the sidelines as the old parties sell out their future.
16 and 17 year olds can drive a car, sign a lease, make medical decisions and work full time. They pay tax on their income, but they aren’t given a say on how government spends their taxes.
Young people are smart, passionate, and politically engaged. They understand just how important their vote could be in delivering real, future-focussed change.
Lowering the voting age to 16 happened without disaster in other countries like Scotland, Wales, Greece, Estonia and Austria.
Tasmania had an opportunity to lead the nation in strengthening our democracy, by empowering more people to have a say at the ballot box. That was not to be, unfortunately.
The Greens know the arguments for extending the vote to 16 and 17 year olds are compelling, but young people were let down by the old parties today.
The decisions made by elected representatives now will affect young people more than any other voters. Perhaps there’s a fear among the old parties that if young people are given the vote, they’ll get the boot or have to substantially lift their game?