Lower Voting Age To 16

Im not sure if this has come up already as a policy suggestion, it probably has.

There has been recent debate between SHY and PH about voting age.
Im not sure whom brought it up first.
PH wants it upped to 21 and SHY lowered to 16.

I believe Pirates should let 16 year olds vote.

it follows from acknowledging that some 16year olds are smarter than some 30 year olds that there is insufficient reason why there should be a blanket ban on 16 and 17 year olds having the choice to vote. Especially since many important policy areas effect them more than say they will effect Malcolm Turnbull who is older and hence has less years ahead of him.

IMO If they have the choice to vote (ie. voluntary), it defends against the immature or less intelligent ones voting because either parents can instruct them not to, or they can decide they are not yet informed or intelligent enough themselves. They are citizens and are able to pay tax (some do) and can think and feel and have their rights violated just the same as anyone else, so they deserve the choice to vote against policies which can effect these rights. Its an extension of natural libertarian rights that they ought at least have the choice to vote.

Furthermore, if there is insufficent backing for a voluntary vote for 16&17 yo’s, whilst i peronally dont think them necessary, there could be other measures for them to qualify to consider such as

  • a ledger of subsciption that proves the parents permission to vote ensuring that the teenager hasnt just ignored the insruction of their parent not to vote.

  • an exam that they could pass about politics that could qualify them to vote. Of course that would be an authority barrier, but better than no route at all.


  • Libertarian
  • I think left tend to have more kids (citation needed)
  • Some 16/17 yo’s smarter than some 30 yo’s (citation needed)
  • Can be a PR strategy to attract more younger voters (university students)


  • brain, maturity, knowledge not fully developed yet

There is also some research at least that suggests young people make more economical decisions rather than relying on shortcuts.

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another reasonable idea is to lower Vote to age 16, but make 16-25 non compulsory.
This might be more attractive to those that argue younger are too immature and might apply the same argument up to 25yo’s.

Some people are calling for the counter argument, that older people should avoid voting against the needs of the young. This could still be libertarian if it is voluntary.


I like the way its done in Brazil, compulsory voting from 18 to 65 (retirement age) and optional voting outside that range i.e. 16-18, 65+


yeh that sounds like a good idea to me.
is there potential for this to be a part of the Pirate platform?
Im not sure if SHH was just floating the idea or if it is a part of their platform now.

If you think about it from a Pirate perspective, Pirate crews often had the young apprentice Cabin Boys who were about 16yo. They had less rights on the ship but still could contribute to decisions sometimes so long as captain gave permission. So I think a voluntary permission based vote for 16 and 17 yos could be popular for libertarian pirates.

There are plenty of 16-17 year olds who want to have a vote and be “part of it” but it becomes a barrier when they think that they can’t be heard. Having the option to vote is great because 16-17 year olds can become more engaged with politics while still at school, good preparation for life.

Ideally all voting should be optional but I think that the current structure (compulsory but only a small penalty for not doing it) outweighs it because it makes the population make a conscience decision on casting a vote (or to donkey vote) rather than ending up with a government which doesn’t reflect the will of the people.

I’m not sure if I’d make old people voting Optional (without a good reason other than their oldness), as it sets a standard “oh well, it’s optional anyway, their vote doesn’t really matter” if they don’t get a chance to vote and Government handles many issues relevant to old people.

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What is PH and SHH?

I assumed PH is Pauline Hanson, not sure on SHH.

Possibly a typo of SHY - Sarah Hanson-Young?

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Could be. I certainly can’t think of anyone else that might fit here.

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Yeh sorry. Sarah Hanson Young.

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Young people generally have a much better idea (and better ideas) than Pauline Hanson.

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Good opportunity right now to get our voice out to more people if we support lowering the vote.


So what I’m hearing is Pauline Hanson is in favour of lowering the voting age to around 15. Also that she makes a fool of herself from time to time.

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Ni pauline wants it raised to 21 but Sarah Hanson young wants lowered. I want lower to 16 and think would be a votewinner for younger voterrs (18-24)

Yes, I know. Just noting that what PH says (“raise to 21!”) and what she claims as justification (“never worked, never paid tax!”) don’t match up on the basis of legal working age laws. The existence of the apprenticeship system is kinda damning for her reasoning too.


I wonder if changing the voting for 18-25 to optional would help reduce the abysmal enrolment rates which occur since young people don’t want to be fined for not voting… So instead they opt to avoid registering entirely.

Also if you’re going to extend (optional) suffrage to 16-18 year olds then it’s wrong for you imo to try and tie this to some sort of test, or permission based criteria. Voting rights are voting rights, not voting privileges. You either should provide suffrage indiscriminately or not provide it at all. In a democracy we give everyone an equal voice with one vote one voice, not one dollar one decision or based on some sort of test etc. We do not discriminate on any other demographics aside from age (which is supposed to be tied to dependence/independence and responsibilities), and I do not see how changing this is fair.
This should be used to dismiss arguments by PH because what she is insidiously implying is the “jobless” (unemployed), non-taxpayers and other marginal citizens should be potentially denied political rights. The last time this happened to a marginalised group was in 1930s Germany…

Personally I think the Greens are pushing a younger suffrage age for political reasons since they probably assume they’ll get more voters, as well as keep positioning themselves as a party for young people. So when we discuss this in a Pirate manner we need to ensure we provide a strong rational which is divorced from political outcomes and put this issue into a broader context of low political participation and engagement with young people. What is the problem we are trying to fix here? Because at the moment we are presenting a single solution before identifying a problem.

If you want to improve political participation in young people, then you need to also beef up civics subjects (e.g. Philosophy, Politics and Economics) in high school (and ensure it is done so in a non-politically biased way, which is very difficult) and provide more avenues for political participation like citizens juries, Youth Parliament etc. as well as examine other strategies which have worked elsewhere in the world to boost participation and engagement with young people. I seem to recall reading somewhere Iceland had a miraculous turnaround with all sorts of problems they were having with young people in terms of excessive drinking, drug abuse, dropping out of school etc. and they fixed the problem by heavily investing in Youth activities, programs etc. I’d have to find that article…


It’s a different sort of issue, but the same sort of investigation into strategies for improving political participation and engagement in other countries should be applied imo. Which countries have the highest political participation and engagement with youth which don’t just achieve it through forcing them to the polls? I seem to recall Corbyn recently massively raised the youth vote in the UK.

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I agree with you in principle about the testing, i came to that conclusion too after i posted this, another thing wrong with a test is that it can be fudged or made subjective and in general its just bureaucratic red tape barrier.

But the register thing i’m not convinced is a bad idea, since it is based on an opt-in/opt-out choice of the guardians (ergo voluntaryism). It can be achieved minimally (perhaps even online or onblockchain). And it defends against the outright dismissal of the idea based on the argument that young people are incapable of making mature economic or just merely political decisions without being led astray by communist teachers at school since parents can veto their kids ability to vote if they deem them not mature or informed enough. however, it might then be countered that there would be some dunning-kruger effect, but i doubt that resonates as much as the free choice of individuals many of whom work and pay tax.

i definately agree with ought be voluntary for the 16/17yo’s.

But on the contrary wrt being political and which problem it aims to solve, i kind of agree with the greens. In that not only do we want to address political apathy amongst youth, but that we do need stronger representation of younger people since they are underrepresented (in terms of an ageing population and that it takes longer for younger people to get into decision making positions in politics rightly or wrongly). I know this is kind of analgous to the debate about womens representation and quotas and such, but were not talking about quotas and women can still vote, meanwhile policies about protection-of-climate and pro-social-cohesion (via UBI, LVT etc) are more likely to be supported by younger people.

I do agree that accompanying the argument with some sort of obligatory “civics and politics” class for high schoolers is a good idea that conservatives would also like.

Whichever argument would fly best is another thing though and you might be correct there.