Young people who are deaf or hard of hearing will participate in this year’s YMCA Youth Parliament program for the first time.
The six participants in the “Deaf Hood” team, sponsored by Deaf Children Australia, will be part of the 120 young parliamentarians attending Parliament House for the three-day event.
The young parliamentarians aged 16 to 25 will debate issues that affect young people, and introduce bills that could help shape legislation.
The Andrews Labor Government has contributed more than $100,000 in funding for this year’s event, to support and raise the voice of young people.
Participants will debate a range of topics including alternative sentencing, parental leave, homelessness, racial discrimination, and student transport affordability.
A group of nine aspiring young journalists will report on the parliamentary debates and pitch their stories to media outlets or have them published on the YMCA Press Gallery website.
The young parliamentarians come from all over Victoria, including Melbourne, East Gippsland, Castlemaine, Wangaratta, Shepparton, Mildura, and Gannawarra.
Participants went on a YMCA intensive camp in the lead-up to this week’s event, where they learned how to develop, write and present Bills before Parliament.
The YMCA Victoria Youth Parliament program has helped to shape more than 20 Bills over the past 30 years, including laws on mandatory bike helmets, roadside drug testing and gun reforms.
Quotes attributable to Minister for Youth Affairs Jenny Mikakos
“Today is a celebration of the immense young talent we have across Victoria and I look forward to listening to the young parliamentarian’s opinions on issues that matter to them.”
“Parliamentary legislation affects Victorians of all ages, which is why it is so important that these young people get a taste of the political processes that shape our state.”
“I am proud to welcome the inspiring young participants from Deaf Children Australia to Youth Parliament for the first time and know they will provide an invaluable contribution.”