They can work, drive and graduate. But teenagers want something more

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webnexttech | They can work, drive and graduate. But teenagers want something more
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In March 1973, The Age reported the success of the first substantive bill brought before the parliament by Gough Whitlam’s Labor government. According to minister for services and property Fred Daly, the bill showed “the commitment of the Labor Government to the youth of this country – to a new Australia of equal political, social and economic opportunity for all.” The reform in question, one of Whitlam’s first after taking office, followed a global trend at the time: lowering the voting age. Australia, eager to keep up with international standards, passed the popular law – and so 18-year-olds soon replaced 21-year-olds as the youngest voters in the nation. Now, half a century later, the conversation has come around again, this time with the proposed age lowered to 16. In Wales, Austria, parts of Germany, Brazil, Ecuador and parts of Argentina, 16-year-olds can vote in elections of varying scale from local to national. In Scotland, they were able to have their say in the 2014 independence referendum.

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