Despite heated debate, the optional Youth Voting Bill passed in the Legislative Council with 36 for, 21 against.
The Bill, presented by the Westbourne team, calls for an opt-in system allowing 16 and 17 year olds to vote in State elections.
Jayden Defina, sponsor of the Bill said all young people in Victoria should be given the opportunity to be heard and acknowledged by the government.
”Currently, very few of us [participating in Youth Parliament] have this chance…We are considered to be mature enough to be here, why not others?”
Cameron Moir, refuting from the opposition, referred to the Bill as “undemocratic.”
Westbourne responded, “Are you saying that giving youth the right to vote is undemocratic?”
The refuter, Kilmore said voting should be compulsory in Australian democratic system, not optional.
But Westbourne emphasised the importance of keeping it optional, with Anthon Servoski arguing this would allow uninterested people to remain uninvolved and limiting the chances of donkey votes.
The opposition also argued 16 and 17 year olds are immature and dependent, lacking life experience and knowledge on politics.
“So you say 16 and 17 year old are immature, and the moment they turn 18 they become mature enough?” said Ashley Whitehead, sponsoring.
The Westbourne team emphasised the potential of the Bill to raise awareness of young people in politics. “We are not a generation of apathy, we are the generation of power,” said Alexandria Peck.
The Bill will be passed on to the relevant ministers in State government.
by Yuzuha Oka