Should the voting age be lowered? Labor MP thinks so

A RETURNED Labor MP who credits young people with getting her back into NSW Parliament is pushing for the state's voting age to be lowered to 16.

Member for Strathfield Jodi McKay was ousted from her seat of Newcastle at the election four years ago amid accusations of a character assassination campaign led by members of her own party.

After being re-elected in March, she used her maiden speech this week to call for 16-year-olds to be allowed to choose the state's leaders.

"Young people, male and female, have the largest stake in the future of the community, and many of my youngest volunteers think and feel that way," Ms McKay said.

"I had a number of young people who were still at school helping out on my campaign.

"They had that spark of social justice and they wanted to help the Labor cause.

"The one thing they could not do, of course, was vote."

Ms McKay said excluding 16 and 17-year-olds from the ballot box was a "failing of our system" and called on parliament to debate changing the legal age of voting.

"The idea is not new, but we have never had a real conversation with the community nor young people on this issue in New South Wales.

"I believe we should. I see allowing 16 and 17-year-olds the opportunity to have a say is simply the ongoing extension of democracy in our community.

"If we want them engaged then let us see what they have to say."