Any attempts to lower the ACT's voting age to 16 during the current parliamentary term would likely be doomed as the major parties have not yet reconciled their different views on the issue.
The ACT Greens have strongly advocated to lower the voting age to 16 in the territory for a number of years. But the party's position is that it should be voluntary for 16 and 17-year-olds, which differs from ACT Labor's position.
While Labor is open to considering the idea of lowering the voting age, the party believes that if it is lowered it should be compulsory.
But even if Labor conceded to the Greens' voluntary voting policy the legislation would not pass the Assembly floor as a two-thirds majority would be needed, which the Liberals would not support.
An inquiry into the 2020 territory election heard from the major party directors at the Legislative Assembly on Wednesday.
ACT Labor secretary Ash van Dijk told the committee hearing it may be confusing for 16 and 17-year-olds to understand the switch from voluntary to mandatory voting at 18.
"It's a very tricky situation to be in terms of messaging," Mr van Dijk said.
"ACT Labor's position is open to the consideration of lowering the voting age ... but that it should be compulsory so we have got consistent messaging throughout the voting period."
But in a later hearing ACT Greens convenor Jo Root said it was patronising to think that 16 and 17-year-olds would be confused by the introduction of mandatory voting at 18.
The ACT Greens submission to the election inquiry says: "The ACT Greens believe in empowering the next generation to be involved in the decisions that will impact them".
The ACT's electoral commission has always been against the proposal to lower the voting age, a view that was reiterated by the territory's electoral commission Damian Cantwell at a hearing last week.
Mr Cantwell said significant legislative change would be required in order to make way for the changes. He said the ACT would be the only jurisdiction to have a lower voting age and would need discreet arrangements with the Australian Electoral Commission in order to make it work.
Mr Cantwell also pointed to the fact if the voting age was lowered on a voluntary basis the Assembly would need a two-thirds majority.
This would be far-fetched as the Canberra Liberals believe the voting age should remain 18.
Canberra Liberals former director Josh Manuatu told the inquiry on Wednesday that the party believed there was an age in which people should be allowed to vote and that should be 18.
"We believe the balance is right at 18," Mr Manuatu said.
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