Photo and words by Marie Trevithick.
The 2018 YMCA Youth Parliament was paid a visit by Former Legislative Council President Rod Mackenzie earlier this morning.
Mr Mackenzie, one of the founders of the Youth Parliament Program, said the program began after there were concerns schools weren’t getting enough information about the parliament and how it ran.
“I had this idea of a Youth Parliament and while I was thinking about it the YMCA came in one day and said they were thinking of doing the same thing.”
“We hadn’t thought of using the YMCA… they were the ones that got the thing off the ground.”
The program was made to mirror real-life parliament sitting days.
“I came in and wore my wig, we had the Clerks come in, the proper Clerks were there with their wigs on and we also had Hansard, and when the Governor came in we got the Speaker across as well.”
“We sort of set rules that you had to behave exactly as a parliament should behave, not like they see in Question Time.”
“I was really surprised that the kids took it so seriously.”
Fast forward 32 years, and Mr Mackenzie is thrilled the program is still running.
“I’m so pleased that I’ve come here today and see that they’re still operating, and bigger and brighter than ever.”