By Sunny Liu
9:37am Debate started late due to a ritual morning dance on the stairs of the Parliament House.
9:40am The sponsoring team proposes a bill to give students with Healthcare card free public transport, called EduKi.
9:48am The opposition team argues “just because the parents have money doesn’t mean the students have money”, stirring a lot of “assumption”s from the sponsoring team.
9:50am When the other team tells you to “read the bill”.
9:53am The sponsoring team emphasises they want to reduce discrimination for students from low SE backgrounds.
9:55am The opposition team agrees the discrimination should be reduced, but giving them free transport is not the right way to go about it.
9:57am In a teary speech, the Hon. Fan argues students who cannot afford public transport should not be disadvantaged. “It’s time we provide free transport to students who need it,” she says.
10:00am “We can’t just give it to them. We need to increase their income,” a refuter argues, proposing to tackle the fundamental problem.
10:04am “I have been in the situation where I had to eat instant noodles for two weeks just to afford school books,” a speaker from the sponsoring team said.
10:07am Why don’t we reduce it for all students?” – the opposition team.
10:09am This bill aims to support students from low SE status and help them beyond their situation, the sponsoring team refuted the idea of free/reduced public transport for all.
10:13am “We are the voice of the youth. So we need to increase the availability of public transport for disadvantaged students?” – the sponsoring team.
10:14am The bill is being considered in committee as a whole.
10:15am The bill is being amended.
10:19am Amendment proposed by the opposition team is not passed.
10:20am The bill has been passed.
10.45am The debate is about to start on the implementing school psychologists bill!!
10.50am One in four young Australians are currently experiencing a mental health condition.
10.51am “Mental illness, the invisible monster, cannot once again be faced with a blind eye.”
10.53am “The bill is admirable in theory, it cannot be practically implemented”. The refuters argue the workload for psychologists would be unreasonable and there would not be enough to fill the workforce.
10.57am Sponsor calls to “destroy” the stigma of mental illness.
11.00am “In 2016, a mere one in four young people in Victoria with a mental illness are receiving help.”
11.02am The bill is calling to mandate one psychologist be placed in every school per 300 students. “Mental illness does not have to be a life sentence.”
11.04am The refuter applauds the nature of the bill, but see issues with it’s call to have all psychologists employed by schools on call for critical events outside of school hours.
11.08am Sponsors say the introduction of a school psychologists program will take care of our youth.
11.10am Refuters say something needs to be done about mental health, but this bill is not it. They criticise clause 9.1 which states appointments shall be made for 10 or 30 minutes, as determined by the student.
11.12am Dakotah Taylor draws from a personal experience to show a school psychologist program works. Her friend suffering from a mental health condition is improving through sessions with a school psychologist.
11.15am Youth Governer Omar Al-Dabal works as a residential care worker. He says a support system at schools would give kids with mental health a “fair go” and help them feel comfortable going to school. “They would have a better chance at life and a better chance at success.”
11.18am Sponsor: “Suicide is a national emergency.”
11.20am Refuter: “When someone feels vulnerable and worthless, they want to hear from someone who matters to them… A community of support and acceptance is far stronger than any of the highest qualified psychologists.”
11.22am “There is a major difference between psychologists and councillors”
11.25am Sponsor: “The good this bill will achieve will override the issues it may face.”
11.27am Amendment proposed: to increase the time of appointments from 30 min to 60 min rather than 10 min or 30 min as proposed in the bill.
11.28am An opposer to the amendment says short meetings are important to avoid missing classes. He says longer meetings can be an option upon request.
11.30am It’s a close call for the division vote on the amendment!
11.32 am The amendment has passed 29 votes to 22 votes.
11.35am Implementing a School Psychologist Program 2016 Bill has passed unanimously.
12:12pm- Debate has already begun in the Legislative Assembly, debating the Lowering the Probationary Driving Age Bill.
12:15pm- This bill involves lowering the driving age, from getting your P plates at 18, to at 17 years of age.
12:19pm- “4 times more likely to harm another individual” argues the government.
12:27pm- “We are putting lives at risk.”
12:33pm– Opposition argues that the bill will reduce the impact on the environment, by increasing the amount of passengers allowed.
12:38pm-“What would happen if these passengers were drunk, and going cray cray?”
12:42pm– Arguments that lowering the driving age will provide further education and employment opportunities for youth.
12:52pm- The bill to lower the probationary driving age to seventeen, has not passed.
1:52pm- The bill to give S plates to senior drivers has begun!
The sponsoring team says there are too many health problems that go unnoticed, which could jeopardise their safety on the roads.
1:56pm- “We implore you not to just consider the title of our bill, but every mandate, one through to ten.”
1:58pm- *unintelligible yelling*
2:00pm- “The elderly should be treated with the same respect as everyone else. One day we will be them.”
2:09pm- “Seven tonnes of steel rocketing down a highway. Death. On. Wheels.” A member of the sponsoring team refers to elderly people losing control of the car.
2:13pm- This is surprisingly a passionate issue. On the one hand, young people get in more accidents (“why should we punish the people who are usually the victims of car accidents”) but on the other, the health issues are dangerous (“Our testing process is extremely practical by reviewing their overall health and testing suitability to drive”)
2:15pm- The opposition says elderly people are discriminated enough already.
2:21pm- Having a senior license is nothing new.
Sponsoring team asks the opposition: “Is the life of our seniors not as important as the life of our youth?”
2:26pm- Youth premier just passionately re-emphasised the medical aspect of car crash fatalities in elderly people.
2:32pm- “You never ask a lady what her age is. So you do not advertise peoples age.”
Opposition thinks test should be based on merit, not age.
2:37pm- Sponsoring team uses the Charter of Human Rights to prove that labelling senior driers with an S is not discriminatory.
2:52pm- The bill fails to pass: 26 to 27