The Commonwealth Electoral Amendment (Lowering Voting Age and Increasing Voter Participation) Bill 2018 was introduced by Greens Senator Jordan Steele-John.
In explaining the bill, Senator Steele-John pointed out that young people have many rights and responsibilities already: ‘young people can work full time and pay taxes. They can own and drive a car, contributing to the maintenance of our roads and transport infrastructure. They can have sex and make decisions about their bodies. They can be treated as adults by our justice system. But they can't vote.’
The bill would allow 16 and 17 year olds to vote on a voluntary basis. It would be compulsory to vote from the age of 18. The bill also proposes allowing Australians to update their electoral roll information at a polling place on election day, rather than having to meet the ‘close of rolls’ date before each federal election.
The bill has been referred to the Joint Standing Committee on Electoral Matters for inquiry and report by 18 October.