Dear media outlets,
I hope that you consider publishing and or broadcasting this media release. Minor Parties do not have the massive resources of the major ones yet Minor Parties can offer diversity, they are responsible and have great good ideas and simple solutions to problems. Often it is the little things that matter and giving a voice to those who are generally unheard, forgotten, marginalised and taken for granted.
The Community Alliance Party is not aligned to an influential personality or another political party, business or other powerful groups. We do not have an ideology. We believe in measured persuasive debate and listen. Our community and its well-being comes first and that will never change.
Voting age to be lowered under Community Alliance Party plan
One of two Community Alliance candidates contesting the Murrumbidgee electorate, Michael Lindfield unveiled its election commitment to lower the voting age of electors from 18 years of age to 16 for the next ACT election in 2020.
Michael Lindfield said, “this would add thousands of young voters to the electoral role.”
“My party believes this initiative will strengthen the capital’s reputation as a global leader in participatory democracy and the ACT would be the first Australian jurisdiction to do so.
“If elected, following extensive consultations with stakeholders, I would introduce appropriate legislation within the first six months of winning office.
“It has been close to a decade now since the ACT Legislative Assembly considered lowering the voting age and since an “Inquiry into the Eligible Voting Age”. Many international studies reveal the positive aspects of enfranchising 16 and 17 year olds in the democratic process in modern society. Countries as diverse as Austria, Nicaragua, Brazil, Malta, Estonia, and even Scotland have already heeded this advice.”
“It is nonsensical to believe that those younger than the voting threshold of 18 years lack the capacity to make informed voting decisions. Yet successive ACT governments allow, and in certain circumstances encourage, citizens as young as 14 years of age to participate in the workforce, pay taxes and generally contribute to the local economy’s Gross Domestic Product”, Lindfield said.
In the last decade, the social media global revolution has introduced new platforms – YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Vimeo, Skype, Instagram, blogging, chat rooms and on-line forums and discussion groups which are allowing individuals instantly to:
- Connect with each other and different sections of the community;
- Exchange ideas, opinions and disseminate information;
- Organise events and activities into positive collective action;
- Build community engagement for all demographics;
- Expose corruptive and unethical behavior (i.e. whistle-blowing) and injustice or immoral practices and violations; and
- Create message boards – to communicate with mass audiences, engage diverse community and interest groups and garner support.
“Importantly, with information and communication technology now seen as an enabler for strengthening community and promoting citizen participation in decision making processes; 16 and 17 year olds need to be politically savvy.
“To help youngsters to appreciate fully the democratic political process and navigate the compulsory voting system operating in the ACT and Australia, we would introduce compulsory classes in Civics and Ethics to all ACT High Schools and Colleges. This would provide a basic toolkit with which to interpret the tsunami of political information and misinformation confronting this social media savvy generation.”
“In a rapidly and ever-changing world, young people of 16 and 17 now want to be empowered, expect to be heard and their views taken into account by political and bureaucratic decision making processes. They have a desire to participate in democracy and this should be encouraged.” Lindfield said.
“I was recently encouraged at Kambah Shopping Centre to be asked by a 10 year old, what are my policies.”
The legal age for consensual sex varies across Australian state and territory jurisdictions. The age of consent is 16 years of age in the Australian Capital Territory.
Background and reference points
www.canberra-alliance.org.au. Note: The Community Alliance Party is not a member of the Canberra Alliance for Participatory Democracy
The ACT Legislative Assembly for the ACT Standing Committee on Education, Training and Young People “Inquiry into the Eligible Voting Age.” September 2007, Report 5
Timeline for reducing the voting age
Brazil lowered its minimum voting age from 18 to 16 with its 1988 constitution.
The United Kingdom’s report of the “Power Inquiry” called for a reduction of the voting age, and of the candidacy age for the House of Commons, to 16 in 2006.
The Isle of Man was the first to amend its law, when in July 2006 it reduced the voting age to 16 for its general elections, with the House of Keys approving the move by 19 votes to 4.
Jersey followed suit on 4 July 2007, when it approved in principle a reduction of the voting age to 16. The States of Jersey voted narrowly in favour, by 25 votes to 21, in 2007
The states of Guernsey adopted a proposal for a reduction of the voting age to 16 by 30 votes to 15 in 2007.
Austria became the first member of the European Union to adopt a voting age of 16 for most purposes in 2007.
Switzerland voted to reduce the voting age from 18 to 16 for national and local elections in 2007.
Malta adopted a proposal to lower its voting age from 18 to 16 for local elections starting from 2015. The proposal gained wide support from both the government and opposition, social scientists and youth organisations.
The Scottish Parliament voted unanimously to reduce the voting age to 16 for Scottish Parliament elections and Scottish local government elections in June 2015.
Estonia legalised voting at 16 in 6 local elections only in 2015
The European Parliament officially endorsed a voting age of 16 for European Parliament elections in November 2015 and has asked member states to consider the proposal.
In Germany, voting age 16 for state elections include:
Brandenburg, Bremen, Hamburg and Schleswig-Holstein. Voting age 16 for municipal elections:
- Lower Saxony;
- North Rhine-Westphalia;
- Saxony-Anhalt; and
The minimum voting age of 16 also legal in Argentina, Cuba, Ecuador, Nicaragua, in Ethiopia, Sudan and Indonesia for 17 years and for people aged 16–18 in Bosnia, Serbia and Montenegro if employed.
In the United States, twenty-one states permit 17-year-olds to vote in state and political party caucuses if they will be 18 by election day. States include:
- New Mexico;
- North Dakota;
- North Carolina;
- Vermont; and