On our first episode of Policy Forum Pod for 2022, we’re joined by Faith Gordon and Rob Watts to talk about lowering Australia’s voting age to 16 years old, the rights of children and young people, and the future of Australian democracy.

The election day tradition in Australia is one most Australians are familiar with. You go to your polling place on a Saturday, stand in line, and get your ‘democracy sausage’ on the way out. But not everybody actually gets to vote. The voting age in Australia is currently 18 years, but the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) Government is currently considering a bill that would lower the voting age to 16, at least for the territory election. To kick-off 2022, Associate Professor Faith Gordon from The Australian National University (ANU) and Professor Rob Watts from RMIT University join Professor Sharon Bessell and Dr Arnagretta Hunter to discuss this proposal on Policy Forum Pod.

Faith Gordon is an Associate Professor in Law at ANU College of Law at The Australian National University. Faith has international expertise and research experience in youth justice, media representations, children’s rights, criminal law, digital technologies, and media regulation.

Rob Watts is Professor of Social Policy at RMIT University. Rob teaches policy studies, politics, the history of ideas, and applied human rights and is a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Social Sciences.

Sharon Bessell is Professor of Public Policy and Director of Gender Equity and Diversity at Crawford School of Public Policy at ANU.

Arnagretta Hunter is a Human Futures Fellow for the ANU College of Health and Medicine, a cardiologist, physician, and a Senior Clinical Lecturer for the ANU Medical School.

The full submission to the ACT Government by Judith Bessant, Rob Watts, Faith Gordon, Sharon Bessell and others is available for download. The full set of submissions regarding the Electoral Amendment Bill 2021 is available online.

Show notes | The following were referred to in this episode:

‘Doing democracy differently – young Australians and politics’, Policy Forum Pod, featuring Intifar Chowdhury, Ariadne Vromen, Sharon Bessell and Arnagretta Hunter (2021)

Children, Young People and the Press in a Transitioning Society by Faith Gordon (2018)

The Precarious Generation A Political Economy of Young People by Judith Bessant, Rys Farthing and Rob Watts (2018)

United Nations Convention on the Rights of a Child (1989)

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