Young people will speak out in Victoria’s parliament this week as 120 delegates from across the state debate the big issues affecting Victorians.
Minister for Youth Gabrielle Williams officially opened the 33rd YMCA Victoria Youth Parliament this morning, marking the beginning of three sitting days.
This year Youth Parliament will debate Bills to reduce youth homelessness, expand deaf facilities in schools, manage mobile phones in classrooms, introduce mental health days in schools and lower the voting age.
Twenty teams of six people aged 16 to 25 will discuss a range of Bills. If passed the Bills will be given assent by YMCA Youth Governor of Victoria Olivia Beasley and distributed to relevant Ministers for consideration.
In 33 years of YMCA Youth Parliament 20 youth-led Bills have shaped real legislation passed by the Victorian Parliament, such as mandatory wearing of bike helmets, nightclub safety reforms, blood alcohol limits for those accompanying learner drivers and legal recognition for carers of people with disabilities.
Youth Parliament will be covered by 22 aspiring young political journalists as part of YMCA Youth Press Gallery. In 2018 their coverage of the debates reached over a million readers and viewers.
The program lets politically engaged young Victorians immerse themselves in parliamentary etiquette, procedure and history while developing leadership, decision-making and public speaking skills.
The Andrews Labor Government is funding YMCA Victoria $640,000 over four years to support Youth Parliament and Youth Press Gallery.
For more information on YMCA Youth Parliament visit www.vicyouth.ymca.org.au.
Quotes attributable to Minister for Youth Gabrielle Williams
“It’s fantastic to hear the ideas of these young Victorians who bring their passions and talents to Parliament House, to shape government policy on issues important to them.”
“Youth Parliament is about providing a meaningful opportunity for these future leaders to challenge themselves through respectful debate and learn about how the Parliament process works.”