日本では選挙権年齢が「１８歳以上」へ引き下げが決まり、解禁された高校生の校外での政治活動が現在討論されていますが、オーストラリアはすでに18歳以上が選挙権できます。 しかもオーストラリアの選挙は強制です。 選挙にいかないと罰金です。 そしてオーストラリアでは去年から16歳以上に引き下げを検討しようと論争されているところです。オーストラリアの子供達はどう思っているのでしょう？
Now what age do you think you should be able to start voting? Right now it’s 18 but recently federal Opposition Leader Bill Shorten threw his support behind 16 and 17 year olds getting the vote too. We’ll ask you what you think about that idea soon but first here’s Amelia to tell us more about it.
Turning 16 can be pretty exciting, and not just because there’s cake and presents.
For some kids, it means they can start learning to drive, they could also apply for a full time job, or get their very own debit card.
How cool’s that?
Wait a minute, there’s more! You could enlist in the army.
You might be able to start donating blood, or with a few terms and conditions, you could even get married! But there’s something else that some people want added to the list of things a 16 year old can do – getting to vote!
AMELIA: At the moment, you have to be at least 18 to vote in Australia, but some reckon young Aussies should have more of a say when it comes to who runs the country.
That’s why Opposition Leader Bill Shorten has suggested changing the rules so 16 and 17 year olds can also vote.
BILL SHORTEN: They’re the ones who have no voice in politics at the moment.
He’s worried not enough young people are enrolling to vote when they turn 18, which means they’re not putting their name and address on the official list of voters. In fact, the organisation that runs elections says 400 thousand 18-24 year olds didn’t enrol to vote in the last federal election, which is actually against the law.
Mr Shorten reckons if young Aussies were allowed to vote from an earlier age, it would encourage them to enrol and get involved in Australian politics. It would also allow them to have their say on the laws and policies that affect them.
BILL SHORTEN: We’re saying we trust you, we want you engaged, we want to hear your opinion.
It’s an idea that some other countries have already adopted. In places like Argentina, Brazil, Scotland, Switzerland and Germany, people can vote in local or federal elections once they turn 16.
But some people are worried that in Australia, some 16 and 17 year olds aren’t ready to vote. They might not know much about politics, or they might not take it too seriously, and even if young people did have to vote, it doesn’t mean they actually want to.
Some say a better way of getting young Aussies involved would be to teach them more about politics. While others say politicians could help by speaking to young people more often and about issues that matter to them.
But considering this story is all about whether young people should be allowed to have their say; maybe I should leave the last word on lowering the voting age to them!
REBECCA: I don’t think it’s a very good idea because when you’re 16 you have other things on your mind, like school and exams, so they wouldn’t really make the right decision, they might just fluke it or something.
GEORGIA: I personally don’t read the newspaper or watch the news or anything like that, so I wouldn’t be able to make an informed decision.
LIAM: I think so, but it should be optional, so you don’t have to vote, if you don’t want to.
ALYSSA: If you’re old enough at 16 to be able to drive a car and the road rules and stuff apply to you, you should probably get a say in who makes the rules.