After a poetic opening speech to Youth Parliament and a meeting with Victoria’s Lieutenant Governor, Marilyn Warren, on Monday, the Youth Governor, William Stojkovski has has a busy week.
“It’s a really special part of the program every year,” said Stojkovski. “[Lieutenant Governor Warren] is really, really lovely, super approachable and a huge proponent of the program.”
Speaking to the Press Gallery on Tuesday, Mr. Stojkovski said despite a smaller number of second-time participants, “everyone’s speaking really confidently”.
Stojkovski is looking forward to the debate on the Bill seeking to remove religious institutions exemption from anti-discrimination laws.
Under exemptions to the Equal Opportunity Act, a religious organisation can choose not to hire someone on personal characteristics such as religious faith. No other organisation in Victoria is allowed to do this.
“That’s something that’s only happened recently,” said Stojkovski. “2010 / 2011 is when the exemption came in and now they’re pretty much seeking to repeal it.”
He’s also interested in Westbourne’s Bill to allow an opt-in voting system for 16 to 17 year olds in Victorian elections.
Stojkovski believes young voters are sometimes ignored, and that Westbourne’s Bill would have them taken more seriously. He also points out this is the reason why Youth Parliament exists too.
“I think it would [make a difference],” said Stojkovski. “More than ever, our generation is starting to take an interest in politics.”
“I think there’s an opinion that all young people are really left-wing, are all really liberal in their views. But I think that there’s a really good balance that are and aren’t.”
This is reflected, Stojkovski believes, in the Bills presented at Youth Parliament. “There are quite a few left-wing ones, and there quite a few, really conservative ones,” he said.
“I find myself identifying with Bills from all over the spectrum. I find myself agreeing with things I didn’t think I would agree with.”
Stojkovski believes because of the program he could never label himself inside a political spectrum.
On Thursday afternoon, Youth Parliament members will vote on the 2015 Youth Governor and Stojkovski will hand over his position in a closing ceremony.