Hanson: Let me put it on the record: this is not a One Nation policy; it’s my personal opinion. So that’s on the record, all right? You’re all saying it is a One Nation policy. Just get it straight.
I love the hypocrisy in this place! Absolute hypocrisy! You have Labor and the Greens saying, ‘Everyone should have their vote’—and they want to lower it to 16 years of age. Well, who wanted to stop the plebiscite on marriage equality? Labor and the Greens. They didn’t believe that Australians should actually be voting on it but that it should be up to the parliament. So look at the hypocrisy of it. They say that people should have the right to vote—but not when it comes to a marriage equality bill; no way in the wide world. They wanted to stop that because they know better than the average voter out there!
Yes, the voting age was 21 until it was lowered in 1973 because of national conscription. I like the reference to Turkey and the grave sites. I’m not being disrespectful at all to those people, because my grandfather fought at Gallipoli. The whole fact is: the voting age at that time was 21. Yes, people went and fought for this country, but the times then were totally different because the youth finished school at around 13 years of age, if not younger. These days, the kids are still at school until 18 years of age and then they go straight on to university.
The Greens say that the voting age should be lowered to 16, as have the Labor Party under Bill Shorten. In 2015 he suggested the voting age be lowered to 16. Read Dastyari Speech Here So he is in line with Senator Dastyari.
Anyway, let’s just look at this. There are a few countries around the world that do have a voting age of 21. The lowering of the voting age from 17 to 16 was rejected by Luxembourg, by 81 per cent of voters, in June 2016. They didn’t want it lowered to that age. Eighty one per cent said no way in the world did they want to do it. And it was actually rejected here in Canberra as well.
Senator Pratt talks about how many people got onto the voting roll: 65,000. Well, isn’t that impressive? But the AEC found that, in 2013, in the federal election, 25 per cent of young people aged between 18 and 24 failed to enrol to vote. That’s over 400,000 people. Studies show that young voters are not engaged or interested in the electoral process. How many times do we have kids voting—and I’m talking about those who are 18 plus—who have no idea who they’re going to vote for or why they should vote for them and no idea of policies, and who ask their parents who they should be voting for? That is the case. I meet people on a regular basis that have no understanding—and I’m not talking about 18- to 21-year-olds; I’m talking about people of older generations who don’t even understand the workings of parliament. You ask them the difference between local, state and federal, and they can’t even tell you.
Another thing is: this parliament and the political parties in this place have kept people in the dark and treated them like mushrooms when it comes to the preference system, because they don’t want them to be informed of where their preferences go. So people are totally confused, not only about voting but even about where their preferences go. It suited the major political parties in this place to keep people in the dark.
Senator Hanson-Young makes a comment that I’m fearmongering or just creating debate so people can have a say on this. I think there are more important things to talk about in this chamber than this because no private senators’ bill has been put up by myself or the party to actually reduce the voting age.
Senator Hanson-Young interjecting—
The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT ( Senator Sterle ): Senator Hanson-Young, I will just say that Senator Hanson only has 18 seconds to go. She should be heard in peace.
Senator HANSON: Thank you. I would say to Senator Hanson-Young: is she terrified of me? No. I suggest she go and look at my Facebook page, Pauline Hanson’s Please Explain. She will see over a thousand comments terrified of Senator Hanson-Young and saying why she shouldn’t be in this place. (Time expired)
Chamber Senate on 16/10/2017 Item MATTERS OF PUBLIC IMPORTANCE – Voting Age Speaker: Hanson, Sen Pauline / Parliment Transcript used for reporting News