Bill Shorten’s “vote at 16” idea gets even more controversial 435



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Bill Shorten made headlines over the weekend for his controversial suggestion that the voting age should be lowered from 18 to 16.

Now one of the leading experts in the field – the man whose research Bill Shorten used in the first place – has shed some whole new light on the matter.

The response among the Starts at 60 community on Saturday was enormous, with an outpouring of passionate responses both for and against.

Many felt 18 was young enough as it is: “I would have thought it would be far more beneficial to the democracy of this country to raise the voting age to 20, not lower it”, said Kerry.

Others, such as Rosalind, felt differently: “People forget they changed the voting age when we were young, it was 21 years old and then it dropped to 18 years old, the World never blew up and Australia still functioned very well, it will just give more people a voice”.

Shorten cited research from Professor Ian McAllister of the Australian National University’s Ian McAllister, suggesting we were trailing behind other countries who had already lowered their voting age.

However, according to the ABC, Professor McAllister himself has corrected this; his research suggests it might not be such a good idea.

“Our research on lowering the voting age suggests that first of all there’s not a lot of public support for it,” he said.

He suggested “less than one out of 10 voters would support lowering the voting age to 16”.

“Secondly in terms of re-engaging younger people in the political process, it probably wouldn’t deliver that goal.

“It was a more potent argument when there was a debate about lowering the voting age from 21 to 18, and it was argued for example in the context of the Vietnam War that people could go and fight for a country but they wouldn’t be allowed to vote”.

“Would you lower the age at which people would stand for Parliament from 18 to 16?”

Do you agree with this opinion? Do we have any realistic reason to lower the voting age from 18 to 16?

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  1. He wouldn’t know what he was talking about 16 is way to young.!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  2. I’m thinking we should go in a completely different direction…get rid of the compulsory voting system…

    6 REPLY
    • I agree, we cannot be called a democracy if we are forced to vote. I have heard a woman discussing who she would vote for, candidate x because I like his name. Leave it to those who want to vote and don’t wait until at the booth to decide by a name.

    • Yes… but that would still allow young people to vote if they felt able. That might be a good thing.

    • voting should not be compulsory /21 Was a better age . but I do understand 18 because of. the army call up during the Vietnam war if you csn fight for your country uou can vote for your country.

    • Only problem I can see with voluntary voting, is you’re going to get all the wrong people lining up and the ones who woould be there for the good of the country might not be enough to make a difference

    • It would actually be good for NO ONE to turn up & vote…that would cause a constitutional crisis. The only way to resolve that (to get the people to vote again) is for the politicians to get their act together, be genuine to please the voters & not just themselves…

  3. For me this is not an election issue, I don’t care if 16 year old’s vote or not, it won’t affect my life one little bit but a rise in the GST will !! And it will be an election issue for myself and others

    9 REPLY
    • It will affect your life as, due to compulsory voting all politicians dance to the tune of the lowest common denominator. This action will introduce a new element and possible frivolous demands from the voting public that will be given more attention than deserved.

    • Trevor Salmon you don’t even know me, don’t tell me what will have any impact on me or not !! let me politely suggest you concentrate on your own life and let me worry about mine 🙂

    • Trevor we are already at the lowest common denominator. We have an electorate that is either too lazy to think or unable to think.

    • Beth McLean when I want your opinion regarding my life I will ask for it, till then please mind your own business

    • Dear Libbi Elliot if you don’t like other people’s opinion . Then please don’t put yours in

  4. It’s not always just a question of how many people would support a move like this. What matters is whether it would be good for Australia. The professor didn’t speak on that. I do not think this is controversial; it may well be very sensible. I doubt there are nearly as many young non-thinkers as there are in the elderly age group – not targeting anyone with that! But we need our youth, and we need to counter the ignorance of far too many older voters, politically. And this may stir some youth to learn a bit more abut how their country is governed.

    24 REPLY
    • I just mean many voters over the age of well, say, 30, are set in their thinking; don’t have a lot of political nous, and don’t know much about politics. The young are often much better at learning stuff like this. I do not mean disrespect to older people. I’m one myself.

    • It doesn’t matter if (your individual perception) “many voters over the age of well, say, 30, are set in their thinking; don’t have a lot of political nous, and don’t know much about politics”…that’s none of your business & very judgmental.

    • Well Carolyn I think your comments re older voters have not been researched or well thought out! I could not disagree more. We at least had much better education and are more literate than under 30s. I think on the whole all Aussies are thoughtful voters but it’s not fair on a 16 yr old to put that responsibility on such young shoulders. Allow them time to grow up, educate and have some fun on the way. 18 is good enough!!

    • Untrue. I am 62. I also read voraciously, trying to see all sides of any story is difficult today, since the media is so obviously biased against anything conservative. I find the youth to be impossible to reason with these days since they have been so thoroughly brainwashed by the lefty leaning school system. They will not even listen to any other facts. Science is never settled, asking questions often leads to NEW discoveries.

    • There are many reasons why people vote the way they do, including the aged; many start voting the way their parents voted and many remain that way ( would this be you and or you) mostly other oldies are thinkers and vote according to how policies impact on their pocket and possible impact on what’s left of their future and are not afraid to change the party they vote for.
      I am for young people learning about how are country is run (power, money, greed, retirement benefits taxes; rich vs poor; manipulation(corruption) wheeling and dealings; welfare dependancies; employment; health; science etc etc. It would be fair to say that many/most will vote the way their parents tell them hopefully some will become free thinkers, free voters prepared to vote for best outcomes for our country as a whole wherever and whenever possible.
      It does open other areas for considerations ie driving licence; marriage; army defence forces etc etc

    • I agree with Carolyn. I think many older voters don’t think policy through, and how it will affect them… How else would you explain pensioners voting liberal, for instance?

    • So, both of you ladies agree that it’s aok to generalise and demonise ‘old’ people. I suppose next you will want to deny them a vote because they are a ‘drain’ in the system. I am glad you are NOT my friends.

    • I think a lot of 16 year olds are very socially and politically aware. The decisions governments make now impact their future much more than ours. Decisions on mining, the environment, trade agreements are tying the young into things they may not want. I think if they want to vote they should, but not compulsory until maybe 25. I agree too that many older voters have no real political awareness. The party they vote for is based on historical reasons, ‘I’ve always voted…’ and issues that are no longer relevant. It can be seen in a lot of comments on these articles that many don’t grasp or understand some of the issues around us.

    • Marlene Baker Maybe because they can see that being a socialist government such as Labor/Greens giving everything away leads eventually to bankruptcy. Have you been following the Greek situation? For heavens sake, wake up, older Australians have seen it all, from wealthy times to recession and depression, suffered through world wars and Vietnam war and you question why would they vote Liberal. If I was you, I would consider their views more important as they have lived through it all.

    • Ann Bristowe-Lamb, I am 74 and I do not vote the way my parents voted and have not done so for many years. We have to recognise that times change. I vote for the party that offers the best solutions to the challenges of the day, and that have an acceptable vision for the future of the country. I’m concerned, not so much for me, but for my children and their children. I don’t always get what I voted for, but that is my criteria. Not picking red, blue, green or brindle and voting for them regardless. I don’t believe that a sixteen year old girl who screams for the latest rock star, or the boy who wears the crutch of his pants level with his knees should have to be responsible for such an issue. Let them be childish for an extra couple of years and wait until they have some serious life experience before taking on voting. I resent the implication that seniors don’t think policies through! That is total rubbish and bloody insulting.

    • Starr Renee Gotzen I am 75. Demonise??? Stop with the PC BS. And generalisation is not always a bad thing. Might wake up some of us to realise that politics, ( and I dislike politics) is something we all need to learn more about, to protect our country and lives.

    • At 16 , they are not legally allowed to do anything else ,why all of a sudden would it be appropriate to make them vote , with NO life experience , they are still kids having fun ( or should be ) . Carolyn Jansen , how rude can someone be ? Ignorance of far to many older voters ? Those older ignorant voters ( who ever they vote for ) have earned their right in this society to vote for whatever – whoever they like . However , you and Marlene baker have just shown your ignorance and disrespect towards the ‘ older Australian ‘ thank goodness there’s more respect for the seniors in this country ( who made this great country what it is today ) than what you have shown . How very presumptuous of you Marlene Baker to assume they are stupid for voting liberal ? Did you ever think that just maybe they are a lot more intelligent than you obviously are ? Because It sure looks that way .

    • Carolyn Brown How many times must i repeat: I am 75. And I am entitled to give an opinion on the POLITICAL ignorance of far too many Australians, of any age. As for voting Liberal – do you like the way our wonderful country is being ruined? If so, you are truly STUPID.

    • I don’t care if you 105 , carolyn Jansen , re read your comment . you said ‘ we need to counter the IGNORANCE of far too many older voters politically !!! Is that not what you said ??
      It’s an insult whatever way you read it . My mother is 86 and finds it insulting . Why would you assume they are politically ignorant ? Is it because they don’t vote your way ? And a 16 year old, what do you think their priorities are in this day and age ?

    • What a rubbish , all about Bill getting on media , self interest ,self promoting .I want him to talk about real issues / how he would fix them not this waste of time stuff. If he had any ideas if not get out give someone else a go

    • I agree I think many older voters are too gullible.Many say they vote the way they do for their children and grandchildren yet do the opposite.

    • Carolyn Brown No insult. Political ignorance is understandable; politics is a dirty business; I dislike it still, but I feel a responsibility to learn and to participate. However, if you like feeling insulted, feel free.

    • Lea Campbell is a good example, ALP is not even close to being a socialist government and they have bought the lies fear mongering and crap from Abbott. Any EXPERT says the structural deficits in the budget were caused by Howard. There is no actual evidence to back up Lea claims at all., And that ignorance amongst older voters has king hit the next generation.

    • I really think Carolyn Janson needs to rethink her views. It seems that if you don’t agree with her, you are ignorant and or stupid! She is entitled to voice her opinion but anyone disagreeing with her doesn’t have that right. It’s this type of thinking and putting down off others and calling them stupid that alienates people from listening to her views. Carolyn Brown, you are wasting your time in combat with this woman because of course, while there is a cure of ignorance, there is none for true stupidity.

    • So, let’s vote in a “politically savvy” 16 year old as our next prime minister & see how well that works out. I’m sure with his/her 16 years of life experience & knowledge learned we just can’t go wrong…

    • Yes Carolyn Jansen I live for feeling insulted ! Of course who wouldn’t ?
      How you can assume that older citizens are ignorant about politics , I’m not sure , other than you must move in such circles .
      I do like to listen to the older generation give an opinion on their reasons for voting for a particular party . It interest me , they have seen more and are often wiser , because they see what others don’t . They are not as gullible as some would assume . They usually get their facts right before the speak also , and because they listen to others as well, they see several points .

  5. Is this the only way he can get his face in the media circle, I wouldn’t care who agreed with this, it is not an acceptable age to vote some 16 year olds may be mature at this age, but I believe that would be few.

    7 REPLY
  6. They are going to vote for how their parents influence them unless they are taking and active interest already. This could produce an imbalanced outcome.

  7. no no way .at 16 .ok there might be a handful of kids that are mature enough to understand what voting means , but most 16 year olds are not they are to worried what justin bieber is doing

  8. Does not matter to me if 16 year old vote, it might even give them a better understanding of our political system

  9. No way!!! 16 is far too young. They have not lived in the real world of working, paying taxes, mortgages, etc etc.

  10. Adult rights and responsibilities kick in when one becomes an adult. Last I heard, that is legally at 18.

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