Monday, September 25, 2023

Youth Parliamentarians in Melbourne

Recent stories

Blake Lee, The Buloke Times

Almost 120 young people from across Victoria attended the Y’s (formerly YMCA) Victorian Youth Parliament Week, held from June 25-30.

Representing regions right across the state, 20 teams of six Youth Parliamentarians aged 16-25, worked together to develop a bill on an issue relevant to their lives. These bills were created with the help of volunteer Taskforce members, and then debated in Victoria’s Parliament House.

The six-day camp was held at the Y’s Lake Dewar Discovery Campsite, with buses transporting the teams to parliament on each sitting day. 

Over three sitting days, 18 of the 20 bills were passed, ranging from lowering the voting age, limiting gambling advertising, to various education bills. The bills that passed were handed to the Minister of Youth to be disseminated to the relevant state MPs, and potentially legislated into law. 

Since its establishment in 1987, over 30 pieces of state legislation have originated in the Y Victorian Youth Parliament including mandatory wearing of a bicycle helmet, gun reformation laws and roadside drug testing for drivers.

The Youth Parliament program serves as an important opportunity for young change-makers to have their voices heard at the highest level of the Victorian Government and share their views on issues they are passionate about.

Buloke-Loddon Team

Jasmine Twigg, Julia Hunt, Lennon Jablonka, Molly Meadows and Verity Orme formed the Buloke-Loddon team. Their bill titled “Limitation of Gambling Advertising”, which they debated in the Legislative Assembly, passed unanimously.

Throughout the week, various MPs and government representatives chaired the debates, with Member for Brunswick, Tim Read, presiding over the Buloke-Loddon’s debate.

Months of work had gone in to preparing the bill, including attending the training weekend held over three days in May, where the fundamentals of parliamentary practices were learnt. The team was satisfied and delighted to see its bill pass, something that came with many hours of commitment. 

Youth Press Gallery

Each year, a team of up to 14 aspiring young journalists have the opportunity to report on the Youth Parliament Week. Also attending the training weekend, as well as weekly online meetings to learn new skills, ten members made up this year’s Youth Press Gallery, including myself.

Each member is assigned to one or two teams and is tasked with creating a media piece, through either an article or video. Under the guidance of Youth Press Gallery director, Ruby Sait, all journalists interviewed their respective teams throughout the program and were able to improve their political journalism.

I was assigned to Wyndham City Council’s “Food Wastage Awareness and Reduction” Bill and Westbourne Grammar School’s “Cybersecurity Education in Primary Schools” Bill, both of which passed.

While reporting on the teams, Press Gallery members were able to work on other important skills needed in media including live tweeting, social media and photography and videography. 

Y Victoria’s Youth Parliament ultimately serves as an important program for like-minded young people to improve their parliamentary skills and make life-long friends, as well as improving political journalism skills for Press Gallery members.

The program is made possible thanks to many dedicated volunteer Taskforce members who help create the program, including Corack local, Noah Slater.

You can find out more information about the program through the Y’s Youth Parliament website.

The Buloke Times 7 July 2023

This article appeared in The Buloke Times, 7 July 2023.


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