Lowering the Right to Vote to 16 Years of Age Is Misguided

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On Nov. 21, the Supreme Court of New Zealand, successful Make It 16 Incorporated v Attorney-General (pdf) declared that the ineligible provisions “which supply for a minimum voting property of 18 years are inconsistent with the close … to beryllium escaped from favoritism connected the ground of age.”

The Court has present waded into the long-running statement of lowering the voting property successful New Zealand—a delicate and analyzable problem. The Court’s declaration means Parliament present has a ineligible work to see the issue.

In response, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced that she intends to present a measure to little the voting property to 16 years.

Teenagers of that property are inactive considered to beryllium “children” due to the fact that Article 1 of the Convention connected the Rights of the Child states that “a kid means each quality being beneath the property of 18 years.”

Epoch Times Photo Labour Party person and New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern claims triumph during the Labor Party Election Night Function astatine Auckland Town Hall successful Auckland, New Zealand, connected Oct. 17, 2020. (Hannah Peters/Getty Images)

The contented is hard and sensitive.

Difficult due to the fact that immoderate property is selected arsenic the voting age, it volition inevitably impact a discretionary and arbitrary decision—but the enactment indispensable beryllium drawn somewhere.

Sensitive, due to the fact that of the alleged inconsistencies of the existent voting property of 18 with New Zealand’s quality rights authorities and Article 25 of the International Covenant connected Civil and Political Rights, according to which the close to ballot facilitates the escaped look of the volition of the electors.

The destiny of the measure volition undoubtedly beryllium intimately watched by proponents and opponents of comparable projected authorities successful Australia.

In 2018, the Commonwealth Electoral Amendment (Lowering Voting Age and Increasing Voter Participation) Bill 2018 recommended lowering the voting property to 16 years. It envisaged giving 16- and 17-year-old teenagers the close to voluntary voting.

This recommendation, if implemented, would, however, make a two-tier strategy of voting successful Australia, with radical implicit 18 obliged to ballot and those successful the 16 to 18 property bracket having a voluntary close to vote.

Emotive Arguments for Lowering Voting Age

Proponents of lowering the voting property person precocious appealing but emotive arguments. Among these, the nebulous conception of “equity” is relied upon to little the voting age: if a idiosyncratic tin beryllium conscripted to combat successful a warfare and perchance sacrifice their beingness for their country, they should person the close to vote.

In addition, proponents reason that teenagers, aged 16 oregon 17, person a involvement successful the aboriginal of the state and, hence, should beryllium fixed a dependable successful the adoption of laws and policies that impact their lives.

In contrast, opponents of the lowering of the voting property to 16- and 17-year-old teenagers reason that astir children successful these property groups are not mature capable to marque an informed governmental decision.

In Australia, statistic bespeak that galore young radical are hardly capable to work oregon write, and therefore, the assertion that they are susceptible of making an informed prime connected predetermination time is arsenic bold arsenic it is misleading.

The caller NAPLAN results worryingly uncover that 13.5 percent of boys successful Year 9 did not execute the National Minimum Standard for reading, with decreasing spelling quality astatine that level.

Furthermore, cognition of the world’s history, the governmental system, and its institutions are problematic.

Ignorance of the country’s typical signifier of democracy, and the relation of Parliament successful it, functions arsenic an effectual obstruction to immoderate meaningful information successful the affairs of the nation.

Epoch Times Photo Year 7 students get astatine Elevation Secondary College successful Craigieburn, Melbourne, Australia, connected Oct. 12, 2020. (AAP Image/James Ross)

A Daily Mail article states:

“Teenagers don’t recognize respective important basics of civic beingness according to caller trial results—and they are getting worse.

“Results from the astir recent National Assessment Program—Civics and Citizenship, revealed astir Year 10 boys and girls couldn’t recognize galore basal parts of however the federation works.

“This includes the value of Anzac Day, what the Prime Minister does, exile issues, quality rights, the worth of different cultures and a batch of what happens connected predetermination day.”

Young Voters Are Drawn to Left-Leaning Parties

A deficient acquisition strategy whitethorn person contributed to this disappointing authorities of affairs. But the existent crushed for opposing a lowering of the voting property whitethorn beryllium seen erstwhile the information that young voters are far much likely to favour left-leaning Labour and Greens parties is considered.

In lowering the voting age, left-wing parties would frankincense beryllium capable to harvest other votes.

This is simply a tenable presumption to marque considering that today’s teenagers are the merchandise of a politicised acquisition strategy that indoctrinates young impressionable minds with left-wing ideas and, hence, they are apt to slavishly follow the rhetoric of left-of-centre parties.

Epoch Times Photo Two schoolhouse students holding placards arsenic they march successful Melbourne, Australia, connected Sept. 20, 2019. (Asanka Ratnayake/Getty Images)

In an Australian context, immoderate dissent connected issues relating to the Voice, captious contention theory, sex transitioning, affirmative action, vaccine mandates, and different fashionable, but politically naïve developments, would beryllium absorbed arsenic unassailable gospel.

This applies peculiarly to clime change, which according to the Make It 16 campaigners volition “disproportionally impact them and their futures.”

A woke education, coupled with the nonaccomplishment to get cognition of past and the sacrifices made by our ancestors, would warrant a gigantic windfall for left-wing parties.

Also, societal scientists person argued that teenagers would beryllium incompetent voters due to the fact that “research successful neuroscience suggests that the brain, specifically the prefrontal cortex, is inactive undergoing large reconstruction and improvement during the teenage years” and the prefrontal cortex is what “enables america to measurement dilemmas, equilibrium trade-offs and … marque tenable decisions successful politics.”

In different words, the property radical targeted by the New Zealand measure cannot marque an informed electoral prime sensibly due to the fact that they bash not person the intelligence competence to bespeak connected the captious concepts that enactment a antiauthoritarian signifier of government.

The connection to widen the voting property to 16- and 17-years aged teenagers is frankincense a atrocious thought which distorts the conception of democracy.

Views expressed successful this nonfiction are the opinions of the writer and bash not needfully bespeak the views of The Epoch Times.

Gabriël Moens


Gabriël A. Moens AM is an emeritus prof of instrumentality astatine the University of Queensland, and served arsenic pro vice-chancellor and dean astatine Murdoch University. In 2003, Moens was awarded the Australian Centenary Medal by the premier curate for services to education. He has taught extensively crossed Australia, Asia, Europe, and the United States. Moens has precocious published 2 novels “A Twisted Choice” (2020) and “The Coincidence” (2021).