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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1996 Week 4 Hansard (17 April) . . Page.. 972 ..

MS TUCKER (continuing):

We expect people to stand up for their own rights. Children cannot demand remedies for their wrongs. They are a largely uninfluential section of the community. They do not have access to the means of exerting power, or protecting their own vulnerability. They do not play any part in the processes which determine the policies which affect them. They, unlike other subjects of discrimination, are peculiarly unable to organise themselves politically.

A key principle of democracy is that people affected by rules should be able to participate in changing them. Voting is one of the most fundamental democratic rights, and it is time that young people under the age of 18 were included in our political institutions.

Arguments against lowering the voting age, when examined in detail, are usually not strong at all. We have the competency-based argument, which does not apply unless you want to have an elitist system of voting. We all know that initially only land-holders could vote. We could look at that issue again, I suppose. On the question of responsibility, some people even argue that if you do not pay tax you should not be able to vote. That is similar to the argument about land-holders in a way. That would rule out a lot of people in our community who are presently able to vote. Basically, all that we are asking this place to do is, instead of being so negative - through insult more than any logical argument - to discuss the issue.

Debate (on motion by Mr Humphries) adjourned.

Discharge from Notice Paper

MR BERRY: Mr Speaker, pursuant to standing order 152, I move:

That order of the day No. 1, private members business, relating to the Workers' Compensation (Amendment) Bill 1995, be discharged from the notice paper.

Question resolved in the affirmative.


Debate resumed from 28 February 1996, on motion by Mr Moore:

That this Bill be agreed to in principle.

Debate (on motion by Mr Humphries) adjourned.

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