Day one of Youth Parliament – Live Blog Archive

The following is a copy of the live feed blog from day one, 30 June, of the 2014 YMCA Victorian Youth Parliament written by the Youth Parliament Press Gallery.


The day is over and the Youth Parliament members file back onto the buses waiting at Governor’s House to head back to camp.

Photo - Finbar O'Mallon
Photo – Finbar O’Mallon

Whilst the Press Gallery has to walk out the front gate.

In the Legislative Assembly,  the Bill to introduce life skills education in high school was debated, and it passed. Callum O’Connor recently profiled the Overnewton team arguing for the Bill.

Division called in the Legislative Assembly. Photo - Finbar O'Mallon
Division called in the Legislative Assembly.
Photo – Finbar O’Mallon

In the Legislative Council, the Bill to have students learn Mandarin, Hindi, Indonesian or Japanese also passed: 33 for, 27 against.

Both of these Bills will be passed onto the relevant state government MPs, and of course, the YP Press Gallery will keep you updated.

The Youth Parliament then retired to Governor’s House to listen to the Hon. Lieutenant-Governor of Victoria, Marrilyn Warren (AC) speak. Our photographer, Finbar O’Mallon, snapped a few before joining the festivities (and a big thanks to the lovely staff and caterers at Governor’s House).

Photo - Finbar O'Mallon
Photo – Finbar O’Mallon
Photo - Finbar O'Mallon
Photo – Finbar O’Mallon
From L - R: Youth Premier, Oussama Abou-Zeid; Hon. Lieutenant-Governor, Marilyn Warren AC, QC; Minister for Youth Affairs, Ryan Smith. Photo - Finbar O'Mallon
From L – R: Youth Premier, Oussama Abou-Zeid; Hon. Lieutenant-Governor, Marilyn Warren AC, QC; Minister for Youth Affairs, Ryan Smith.
Photo – Finbar O’Mallon

A very big first day. Tomorrow, first then, the Bills for The Reduction for Incidence of Cruelty to Animals and the Bill for tighter regulation of the labeling of organic products.

Be sure to keep an eye on our Twitter feed as we live tweet the debates in both Chambers. See you in the morning.


A call for division in the Council had the opposition and government switch sides. “This is going to be a cattle call,” said the Speaker.

Photo - Finbar O'Mallon
Photo – Finbar O’Mallon


Bonny Borrows has wrapped up the MPI debates earlier in the day.


Hon. Tom Oxlade on the mandatory teaching of a second language,

“has the potential to be more productive and more efficient”

Hon. Feroz Ibrahimi from the government, who oppose the bill,

“Why are we placing all of our eggs in one cultural basket?”


All quiet on the Opposition front in the Legislative Council before debates resumed, they were throwing paper planes a moment before.

Photo - Finbar O'Mallon
Photo – Finbar O’Mallon

Must have been all that sugar at lunch…

Photo - Finbar O'Mallon
Photo – Finbar O’Mallon

1:30PM Legislative Assembly

Overnewton vs Gannawarra in LA Overnewton team member, Marcus Pensa introduces his Bill, “Introducing mandatory life skill classes in Secondary Schools”

“We hope to increase childrens health safety and general preparedness in a general lifestyle setting… “Estimates show that in the year 1900 2% of meals were eaten out of home, however now the stats have been raised to 50%… Something like home economics in our scheme will enable the teaching of nutrition and basic cooking; and hence have a huge influence on our health….”
– Marcus Pensa, Overnewton

Ganawarra team member, Abbii Morvell disputes

“Under the circumstances, how is it to create a new unit of study when we already have participating classes that incorporate these skills? If we introduce a new set of classes what classes will students miss out on every fortnight? Does the government expect them to miss out on core classes?”

Overnewton team members provide supporting comments

 “We are currently fostering a generation that is academically  smart rather than practically smart… lets make sure young people reach their absolute potential”
– Brittany Braszell

“We know students are taught in theory but they are not able to apply them outside of school. I know for a fact that none of my siblings who go to all different schools have learnt any type of life skills that we are hoping to implement in our Bill…
A Bill like this would provide you with useful and practical knowledge once leaving school….creating a self-dependant generation”
– Ashton Bujis

“The students don’t have a universal base line, the students are unable to have the same amount of skills as everyone else. Do we not have equal rights? This life skill classes will reduce variability…. And the benefits do out way the detriments.”
– Joel Jones

“Life skill classes are going to benefit everyone… from changing a tyre to going about ones taxes”
– Kate Wall

“We need to make way for kids growing up… If parents are working 6-8 they cant teach their kids to go through accounts, or change their tyre… So, maybe some people don’t want to spend a semester learning how to do a particular stitch in a pair of pants, but I know that everyone deserves to know how to learn to sew on a simple button.”
– Laurel Fry-McBean

“It is an essential and vital area of life, which allows people to flourish and realise what they want to do in life. By not providing this opportunity, it is essentially the same as a fish out of water… they don’t know how to survive in the real world”
– Jackson Ford

Gannawarra team members dispute

“Do we expect these teachers to be teaching every aspect of life, absolutely every aspect? Is it necessary to have these classes? When we already have the option to do so…. It has taken 12 years to design [the program] that we have today…. Why can’t we tweak these? This Bill is creating more problems than good, honestly this could be good but it is a waste of time. ”
– Lenny Brown

“What are the teachers going to do to take these subjects when they are at times teaching the same thing? Are we just supposed to cut what we learn, for what we already learn? It seems like 3 years of a structural nightmare for teachers…. It becomes a repetitive process that can yet again be taught in VCE according to the field”
– Anthony Doyle

“Should we be teaching things that we can get off google, or more simply just by asking your neighbour?”
– Ellen Van Der Heide

“Previous generations have survived without classes like these, why introduce them now?”
– Imogen Colton

“Do you want to teach someone to change a tyre?… You can just simply just open up your car manual”
-Nicholas West

Youth Premier, Oussama Abu-Zeid and other YP team members bring their own opinions to the debate

“This is what learning is about, its applying knowledge in everyday situations so we can enhance our skills…”
– Oussama Abu-Zeid

“I don’t know about the opposition, but until you’ve been stranded on the side of the road at midnight in the rain, and you have no idea how to jack up your car safely without losing an arm and a leg…. until you have experienced that you will not appreciate the skills that these classes can teach you. ”
– Omar Aldabel, Hobsons Bay

“While parents are responsible for their own children, there are no real basis or rule for them to teach you these skills. These parents who work long days may lack these skills as well. Why should these children miss out on these basic life skills that parents may neglect to teach them, or not know themselves”.
– Maddison Sharpe, Phoenix College

“I would like to see the bus break down tonight and the opposition gets out their manual and changes the tyre themselves!”
– Irena Vecris, Hobsons Bay

“It is a complete waste of time for the students who don’t want to learn…”
-Brittany Paxton, AIME

“There is no rule in place saying that we must feed our kids, but it is just common sense. … From the beginning of time, the sharing of skills and stories has built strong bonds between generations, and through the introduction of this Bill we are introducing an outsider into this special relationship”
– Matilda Bell-Wilcock, Castlemaine

Overnewton team member, Marcus Pensa provides a summary of the Bill;

“This bill will supplement parenting, it is not an alternative….
Students have no choice to face the real world, but we have the choice to decide whether or not we educate them..”

** Amendment vote  is overturned with a count of 25 to 20;

‘Teachers will need a 4-year diploma in education, and 6 months training’

** Amendment is agreed upon

‘Clause 7: Replace the word ‘association’ for ‘department’
7.1 VDLS shall implement curriculum and task force
7.2 VDLS representatives shall teach
7.3 VDLS teachers shall be experts in their field
7.4 Class size 25 students per teacher

Majority agrees upon a third reading of the Bill

RESULTS IN: The mandatory life skills Bill has passed with an overwhelming majority


Very interesting results in for the free education Bill. The Legislative Assembly votes 52 for, 13 against. In the Legislative Council, 45 against, 11 for. Basically, the Assembly and the Council produced two exactly opposite results.


Hon. Mr Nash against the free higher education Bill.

“Currently, fees are regulated and we need not consider free education but affordable education.”


Hon. Ashley Whitehead defending the  education Bill

“Would you rather university’s select their students based on how hard they worked in high school than how much money they have.”

Hon. James Gover,

“Australia is no longer a closed system. It is an international market.”

Speaking in the Council, Hon. Juliana Bardoel on the free education Bill

“We will end up with overpopulation of people with degrees and no jobs.”

Hon. Juliana Bardoel Photo - Finbar O'Mallon
Hon. Juliana Bardoel
Photo – Finbar O’Mallon


Things are heating up in the Chamber!

“So HECS works, really? According to North Korea, so does a communist dictatorship!” -Laurel Fry McBean, Highview

The Hon. Laurel Fry McBean sits back down after her heated comment. Photo - Finbar O'Mallon
The Hon. Laurel Fry McBean sits back down after her heated comment.
Photo – Finbar O’Mallon


Rebecca Brooks, from the Youth Parliament Taskforce told Yuzuha Oka she’s looking forward to the adjournment debate the most. “I had a sneak peek and it was great.

Participants will have two minutes to talk about any issue they are passionate about. Issues include mental health, healthy food and we will get more personal story.”


MPI discussion in the Legislative Council, debating against the Bill for free education.

The Hon. Mr Nash, “this government needs to realise the impact of their bills” “…if enrollments increase, the value of your degree decreases” “There will be more graduates than the number of jobs to be filled”


Some snaps from Parliament

Photo - Finbar O'Mallon
Photo – Finbar O’Mallon
Photo - Finbar O'Mallon
Photo – Finbar O’Mallon
Photo - Finbar O'Mallon
Photo – Finbar O’Mallon
Photo - Finbar O'Mallon
Photo – Finbar O’Mallon
Photo - Finbar O'Mallon
Photo – Finbar O’Mallon


MPI discussion in the Legislative Council, debating against the Bill for free education.

“Free university eduction nationwide is ignorant and impossible.” “…increase in work, but no increase in staff. Where would wages come from if there was free education?”


MPI discussion in the Chamber

“Uni fees are required to fun lecturers and facilities… Everything has a cost” – Matilda Bell-Wilcock, Castlemaine

“Uni fees are required to fun lecturers and facilities… Everything has a cost” – Matilda Bell-Wilcock, Castlemaine

“It is an investment not an expense… All Australians should have the opportunity to study without a lifetime of debt” – Daniel Chapman, Highview

“We cannot allow excessively high University fees to deter Australians going to Unversity” –  Irena Vecris, Hobsons Bay

“Regardless of social or economic status… [everyone] deserves the opportunity to work and study” – Maddison Sharpe, Phoenix College

“[We must] provide support for students and put all financial issues to rest” – Kate Wall, Hobsons Bay

“It does not consider that students will drop out… statistics indicates that of 27,000 undergraduates students 1/5th drop out, leaving substantial debt from unpaid loans by drop outs” – Anthony Doyle, Gannawarra

“A truly lucky country would not shy away from a chance to shape [our] future” – Omar Aldabel, Hobsons Bay

“We are constantly creating a generation of smart education people to run out country…” – Ashton Buijs, Highview

“I ask, why is education so attractive and why is thrown around like that?” – Jasmine Balla, Hoppers Crossing

“Without proper education and knowledge people will not be able to pursue the jobs they want” – Jackson Ford, Phoenix College

“We should fund good education for a good society” – Imogen Colton, Hoppers Crossing

“Victorians tax payer’s money would be better used for things Victorians need” – Ashley Penrose, Castlemaine


Yuzuha Oka spoke to Cameron Moir, from the Kilmore team. “As one of the first teams to present a Bill in Parliament, we want to set a good example that others can follow,” he said. Their Bill calls for mandatory Asian language education from prep to Year 10. Moir studies Chinese himself.

“People looked surprised and pleased when I bumped into Chinese and apologized in their language.” Their Bill will be discussed this afternoon from 1:45pm. Moir said the key to success would be “to know what you are saying and listen well to others”.


“Hear, Hear!” echoes around the chamber as Youth Premier, Oussama Abou-Zeid voices his opinion in regards to the MPI.

“Missing out on opportunities for an advanced education due to financial limitation is not only detrimental, but enormously damaging to society…. Free education pays for itself” -Oussama Abou-Zeid


Team Members from Hobsons Bay, Pascoe Vale, Overnewton, AIME, Phoenix, Hoppers Crossing, KGI, Gannawarra and Highview give thanks during the Matter of Public Importance, in the chamber.


Bonny Burrows and Ryan Tennison report on the opening of Youth Parliament.


The Youth parliament prepares for the debate of the following Matter of Public Importance:

“That Australia should provide free education post high school including University, TAFE, VET and other approved alternatives.”


First break of the day, morning tea in the Queen’s Hall. Youth Premier, Oussama Abou-Zeid, is “very nervous, excited” about today. Bonny Burrows spoke to him earlier in the week. DSC_9624 10:03AM 

“We are who we are, and we have come really far to be here today, so we say make way..”

“This is not our time to be quiet and to sit and watch, this our time to stand up and step it up a notch… to create something special, starting here right now, we all have the opportunity to astonish and wow..”

– Youth Governor, William Stojkovski

Youth Governor addressing the chamber. Photo - Finbar O'Mallon
Youth Governor addressing the chamber.
Photo – Finbar O’Mallon


Minister for Youth, Ryan Smith, speaking to the Youth Parliament members. DSC_9615Photo – Finbar O’Mallon 9:53AM

“Parliament is a place for ideas, debate and ambition…. This is a place to test policy and capture young Victorian’s imagination on matters that matter to them” – Minister for Youth, Ryan Smith


Youth Parliament 2014 has begun! Stay tuned for updates throughout the day.

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