Senator Jordan Steele-John says lower voting age to 16. Photo: Wikimedia commons

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By Fernanda Tiburcio

Senator Jordon Steele-John, representing Western Australia for the Australian Greens, has introduced a bill to lower the voting age to 16 into the Senate.

Senator Jordon Steele-John said: “The Senate has referred my bill to the Joint Standing Committee on Electoral Matters for scrutiny.”

“I’m hopeful that a version of my legislation can be agreed to in the committee process, and will subsequently pass into law.”

“The Senate has to pass the bill; it is not automatically law”.

However, according to Senator Jordon Steele-John, the Labor Party may not agree with the bill.

Senator Jordon Steele-John said: “The Labor Party referred my bill to committee following debate in the Senate, indicating they would not support it in its current form.”

“I’m excited to be a part of the committee process and looking forward to working with the Labor party, and indeed the government if they are willing to come on board, to passing this legislation in the future.”

Susie Kim, 16, from Black Water High School, said she would prefer to vote at 18.

“I think it is a reasonable age because when you are 18 you can understand more and I feel like you are more mature,” Susie Kim said.

“Instead, if it is a lower age, you know it wouldn’t be mature. It would just be whatever they choose.”

“They don’t understand what is for or anything like that.”

Dilpreet Hayer, 17, from Hills Adventist College had a similar view.

“Because right now I don’t really care about the politics, I think is all based in your education and focus on that,” Dilpreet said.

“Maybe some of them do, but I think the majority wouldn’t really care.”

Two of her friends agreed. She pointed out that her classmates may think similar ways too.

Senator Jordon Steel-John said: “16 and 17 year olds can already work full time, pay taxes, own and drive a car, have sex and make medical decisions about their bodies, sign a rental tenancy agreement and live independently, join our armed forces and join a political party. I think that gives them the right to vote.”

The movement to lower the voting age is a trend not only in Australia, but also around the world.

Sixteen year olds in Argentina, Austria, Brazil, Cuba, Ecuador, Nicaragua and the Isle of Man, Jersey and Guernsey can already vote. In Bosnia, Serbia and Montenegro,16-18 years old can vote if they are employed.