Opposition Leader Bill Shorten
Opposition Leader Bill Shorten Chris Ison

Labor wants to lower voting age to 16-17

TEENAGERS would vote in future elections, if a scheme put forward by Labor gains support.

Opposition Leader Bill Shorten revealed plans to lower the voting age to allow 16 and 17-year-olds to vote at the New South Wales Young Labor conference.

"If Australia trusts our 16 and 17 year old citizens to pay tax and work; to join the military; to drive on our roads; to fly a plane; to make independent decisions about their medical care, then we, the Parliament of Australia, should extend that trust to include a direct, empowered say in our democracy."

Federal Labor also wants to link voter registration to the tax office or educational enrollments in an effort to stop young people missing out on the vote once they turn 18.

According to Labor, 17,000 Australians under 18 put more than $41 million in taxes into government coffers but have no say on how those funds are spent.

"Australia can't overcome the challenges of the next 15-20 years, the challenges of the next generation, without your generation," he said.

"We need your ideas, your energy, your ambition for our nation to be the best it can be. Young Australians like you deserve the right to shape the laws and policies that shape your lives."

Shadow Parliamentary Secretary for Youth Sam Dastyari will consult with community leaders and young people across Australia about lowering the voting age.

Labor is pointing to researching into electoral reforms done under Rudd's Labor Government, which suggested that younger people were responsible enough to have a say.