Values, Partisan Interest, and the Voting Age: Lessons from Australia

Narelle Miragliotta, Sarah Murray, Martin Drum

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

Abstract

The decline in youth participation in elections has been an ongoing concern in Australia, in spite of the requirement for compulsory turnout. In 2018, and in response to these concerns, the Australian parliament debated an electoral amendment that would lower the national voting age to 16 years. The Bill, however, did not succeed even though two opposition parties—the Australian Labor Party and the Australian Greens—supported the reform and the Morrison Government accepted the premise that youth electoral disengagement was a troubling phenomenon. Drawing on veto player theory, this article examines how the legislative dynamics intersected with partisan self-interest and party value priorities to undercut the case for lowering the voting age to 16. The Australian case highlights the ways in which latent ideological differences among parties can serve to divide them on the inclusiveness of franchise, and the democratic goals to be served by voting. Related Articles: Cormack, Lindsey. 2019. “Leveraging Peer-to-Peer Connections to Increase Voter Participation in Local Elections.” Politics & Policy 47 (2): 248-266. https://doi.org/10.1111/polp.12297. Fisher, Patrick. 2020. “Generational Replacement and the Impending Transformation of the American Electorate.” Politics & Policy 48 (1): 38-68. https://doi.org/10.1111/polp.12340. Ike, Vivian. 2020. “The Impact of Veto Players on Incremental and Drastic Policy Making: Australia's Carbon tax Policy and its Repeal.” Politics & Policy 48 (2): 232-264. https://doi.org/10.1111/polp.12346.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-24
Number of pages24
JournalPolitics & Policy
DOIs
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2021

Keywords

  • Australia
  • Citizenship
  • Democracy
  • Electoral Inclusion
  • Electoral Reform
  • Generations
  • Participation
  • Political Apathy
  • Veto Player Theory
  • Voter Turnout
  • Voting Age
  • Voting Behavior
  • Youth Voting

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