Thursday, October 08, 2020

As expected


Back in August, the Make It 16 campaign went to court to argue that the current voting age is unjustifiably discriminatory and breaches the Bill of Rights Act. As expected, they lost, with the judge deciding that while prima facie discriminatory, it was a justified limitation and within the range of reasonable options for Parliament to choose. But reading the judgement, I'm left with the overwhelming impression that if the voting age were still 20 or 21 (and s12 BORA reflected that), the judge would have made exactly the same decision. And that's because they never bothered to do any assessment of the actual merits of any particular age - in part because the government just gave up on that:

The Attorney-General did not advance any factual arguments about the merits of any particular voting age, but rather submitted that the age of 18 is objectively reasonable.
But the whole point of the case is to ask "is it, though?" And it speaks volumes that when confronted with that question, the government refuses to answer it, and the courts refuse to inquire, and both basicly fall back on tradition: it should be this way because it is this way. Which is awfully 1890's of them.

But it does highlight the underlying truth: if we are to change this law, we need to kick some politicians. Currently the Greens are the only party supporting a lower voting age (Labour, as on everything else, spouting sometime-but-not-now-so-really-never bullshit). So vote accordingly.