Sheila Byard spoke at Geelong on Monday 20 June on
Women in local democracy – The Right to Vote, the Right to Stand
The peak body in Victoria representing secondary students Victorian Student Representative Council (VicSRC) has launched an on-line petition with change.com calling for voluntary voting for 16 – 17 year old. www.vicsrc.org.au/ Both the Victoria Student Representative Council program and the Youth Councils across the state have a crucial role to play in the maintenance of an engaged democracy.
National Council of Women of Victoria and in particular its Geelong Branch has a strong commitment to civics education, and to encouraging women to vote, and to accept the responsibility of equal participation in civic life from jury service to standing for election. In 2014 the YoungNCWVic group used blog and Facebook to look at voting experience of young people in the 18-15 age range, in the UK and Australia. This was when the option to vote was offered to 16 -17 year old to vote in the
Scottish independence referendum. Social media was the key to this campaign and 16-17 year old did vote in greater numbers that the 18-25 age group. The younger group linked with ‘Better Together’ or the other side, by entering their voter registration number on websites in return for the chance to win an Ii-pad!
What can be done to reduce the imbalance between male and female representation in parliaments and local councils in Victoria, and lack of diversity?
NCW Victoria holds an annual event ‘My Vote My Voice’, free to secondary students, at the Parliament of Victoria, focusing on the gender gap, with brief speeches by individual students and team of three.
This year’s event My Vote My Voice – The Right to Vote, the Right to Stand is on Friday morning August 12, 2016, in the Legislative Council Chamber, Parliament of Victoria. Sponsored Australian Local Government Women’s Association, guest speakers include Ms Tina Hosseini, Youth Commissioner, Victorian Multicultural Commission. Registrations close Friday 15 July. Tel. No (3) 9421 1602/ 0447 351 234.