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Wednesday, 13 September 2017
Page: 7101

Senator WONG (South AustraliaLeader of the Opposition in the Senate) (11:19): The opposition has made its position on these matters clear. First, we have a proud history of advocating for the extension of the electoral franchise, and I'll come back to that point. But, as we made clear in debate on legislation, I think, on Monday when the Greens moved a similar amendment, we do believe that such a significant issue as the extension to 16- and 17-year-olds should be considered fully and properly and through the JSCEM process. For those reasons and a desire to progress this legislation as a consensus position in the parliament, we won't be supporting the Greens' amendments to extend the franchise on this occasion. Prior to the last election, the Labor Party moved to extend the vote to 16- and 17-year-olds in this country and the Leader of the Opposition did, at that time, commit a Labor government to consult on the issue appropriately prior to recommending a change. We believe it's an issue that requires appropriate consultation, and we would recommend that the issues canvassed by the Greens' amendments be referred to the JSCEM, where the Australian Greens can participate and, with other parties, seek appropriate reform.