How Old Is Old Enough?

Following in the footsteps of our own poll in May, the Australian General Election has resulted in another knife-edge result that will doubtless keep pundits talking for many days to come.

One of the most interesting local results comes from the Queensland seat of Longman, where 20-year-old Liberal candidate Wyatt Roy seems to have defeated the sitting Australian Labor MP. Whenever a young candidate gets elected, so follows an inevitable debate about whether they are old enough and experienced enough for the job.

My view on this is simple. One of the great things about democracy is that the¬†voters get to decide on these matters, not any one individual or any commentator. Local residents in Wyatt Roy’s Longman electorate had the opportunity to vote for a different candidate if they did not feel he had the experience, and they will be able to vote him out again in three years’ time if he does not do a good job.

If you are old enough to vote, you are old enough to stand – and then the electorate get to decide whether a candidate is up to the job. Arbitary age-limits (and term-limits, for that matter) are only a restriction on democracy.

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