If you’re going to give 16 year olds the vote, why not take it further

July 27, 2009 — 11 Comments

WTF: Push to give 16-year-olds the vote in federal elections/ The Oz

The idea clearly reeks of Rudd looking for extra votes for the ALP given that under 18’s would be more likely to vote in that direction. But having said that I’m not dead against the idea: “young” people should have a say to some degree.

But if we’re going to give 16 year olds the right to vote, why not take it further. Reduce the legal age for alcohol and tobacco to 16 (note that it’s not that long ago that the legal smoking age was 16.) Why not give 16 year olds the right to obtain a full drivers license as well?

If we’re not, why offer the right to vote. If you’re not old enough to legally take responsibility of a car or old enough to buy alcohol, why would you be old enough to vote? Voting is an adult responsibility that doesn’t exist in a vacuum: as a society we’ve decided that 18 is the magic “adult” number for many things. It would only be fair then that if we were to redefine that age to 16 for voting, we should do it with the others as well.