Written by Timothy Cox (@CoxTimothyJames)
Thursday was the last sitting day for Youth Parliament 2018, and it was one of both tears and exaltation. By now the teams had found their feet and were more confident than ever in their parliamentary positions. Here’s a brief recap of what happened.
In the Legislative Council…
YMCA Manningham and Donvale Christian College kicked off proceedings in the morning with their Disability Accessibility Buildings Bill, which passed unanimously with one amendment.
“If change is not happening across the board, is it really happening at all?” Ellie Pearce asked during her speech.
Ovens Murray Youth’s Increased Support for Wellbeing Programs in Secondary Schools bill passed unanimously with minor amendments, though there was some debate about the specifics of its implementation.
“It will benefit staff, students, and the wider community across Victoria,” Jessica Lewis said.
The Implementation of Area Catchment Buses on Code Red and Extreme Fire Days, sponsored by Dandenong Ranges Youth, passed without the need for a third reading.
In opposition, Nick Steer said: “You are putting other people at risk, at a high risk location.”
But Estelle Greenwood insisted that “transport is a luxury many can’t afford”.
Westbourne Grammar passed their Rape Trial Reform bill 41-14.
“We’ve just proved that this is something that young people care about,” team member Eleni Moritz said. “We don’t want to live in a society like this. We want to improve it.”
The final bill debated in the Council during this year’s Youth Parliament was Overnewton’s Prohibit Children’s Access to Gambling Within Online Gaming.
“We don’t want to eliminate the fun from games, as they can be just as enjoyable without these loot box purchases,” Lauren Murphy said.
The opposition argued that the measures would damage the gaming industry and remove an important fun factor. A division arrested the bill, which failed to pass Parliament with votes of 30-26.
“Education is the most effective way to prevent addiction,” Emily Stevenson said.
And in the Assembly…
The ‘ayes’ had it after a lively debate between St Bede’s College and Ivanhoe Girls’, which saw the former’s Life Skills Education Development bill pass.
“We should not be afraid of spending more money on education,” Jagveer Singh said.
Wonthaggi Secondary College’s Reform on Youth Court Services Bill 2018 required a division and passed 39-15.
Silvie Starlight said: “We are need to empower children who feel that they don’t have a voice.”
In a Youth Parliament first, two members were ejected from the chambers during this debate.
Several topics were raised during the later adjournment debates, from the need for supermarkets to promote healthier food to the necessity for Victoria to tackle it homelessness and underemployment problems. Especially notable were Georgia Martin speaking about Alzheimer’s disease, and Isabel Lynzaat condemning the trivialization of the Holocaust.
PLC managed to pass their Family Violence Rehabilitation Program bill without the need for a division.
Sponsor Rebekah Kelly said: “In order to have perpetrators who benefit society, we need to rehabilitate.”
Finally, the day ended with a closing ceremony featuring Minister for Families, Children and Youth Affairs Jenny Mikakos, Shadow Minister for Families and Children Georgie Crozier, and YMCA Board Member Olly Tripodi, who each praised the conduct and passion of the Youth Parliament throughout the week, and encouraged more spirited debating from Victoria’s future politicians and advocates. Olivia Beasley was then announced as the 2019 Youth Governor.
Look out for the some of this year’s bills as they are passed to ministers for consideration in State Parliament, and a big thank you from the 2018 Press Gallery team to our readers for joining us on this highly enjoyable, hectic week.