Bill Shorten calls for voting age to be lowered to 16 what do you think ?
The nation's voting age should be lowered to 16 because young Australians do not see their views reflected in Parliament, according to Federal Opposition Leader Bill Shorten.
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In a speech to the New South Wales Young Labor conference in Sydney today, Mr Shorten said if people aged 16 and 17 can drive, work, pay taxes, join the military and make their own choices about medical treatment, they should also be allowed to vote.
Federal Labor said research by the Whitlam Institute has shown young people want to be involved in decision making, and opportunities to do so should be offered within political structures.
Mr Shorten said young people deserved the right to shape the laws and policies that shape their lives.
The party pointed to examples overseas where the voting age has been lowered, including Scotland, Austria and Brazil.
"In 2012/13, more than 17,000 Australians under 18 paid $41 million in taxes, not to mention the GST," he said.
"Then we ? the Parliament of Australia ? should extend that trust to include a direct, empowered say in our democracy.
"It's certainly occurring in other parts of the world.
"I believe the more voices in our national debate, the better."
Mr Shorten cited data from the Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) showing 400,000 people aged 18 to 24 did not enrol to vote in time for the last federal election.
"Too many of your peers are falling through the cracks in our democracy," he said.
He argued fines and penalties from the AEC were unlikely to fix that issue, nor would rhetoric from politicians.
Finance Minister Mathias Cormann labelled Mr Shorten's proposal as an attempt to grab a headline.
"Instinctively my view is that 18 is the white line in the sand," he said.
"Let's see how the debate unfolds, if indeed there is a debate."
What are your thoughts engage in the discussion today
Are schools doing enough to teach in subjects like politics and preparing the young for adult life ?
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Source: ABC News & Sources