Bendigo Youth Council in the Legislative Assembly. Photo: Youssef Saudie
By Sam Kane
Bendigo Youth Council’s Bill to introduce compulsory LGBTQI+ sex education in Victorian public secondary schools is one step closer to fruition, after passing unanimously at the YMCA Victoria Youth Parliament today.
The hour-long debate in the Legislative Assembly saw the Bendigo team argue that students have a right to be informed of LGBTQI+ issues in their education, and, that teachers and general school staff should receive LGBTQI+ awareness training.
As part of the Bill, school wellbeing staff directly involved in the delivery of the health and wellbeing curriculum would also receive extra training on the new curriculum additions, and the content of the education would be reviewed every five years.
Speaking to Youth Press Gallery following the debate, team member Annika Ritchie said it was exciting to have the bill passed.
“It was just really overwhelming to have the amount of support that we did,” she said.
During the debate, team member Cheyenne Cadence spoke on the staff training component of the legislation – arguing it is vital.
“Often it is staff who are the first to realise when students are suffering,” she said.
The bill was passed without the suggested amendment for an opt-out clause for those with religious, cultural or personal concerns, with the team’s Billie Taylor praising the chamber’s decision to accept the bill as the team had written.
“It’s important to not discriminate based on religion or personal background – everyone gets the information,” she said.
Bills passed at YMCA Victoria Youth Parliament are handed to the relevant Victorian Government minister for consideration.
Youth Parliament continues tomorrow, with bills including Party Safe Initiative, Regional School Bus Routes to Allow Public Access Bill 2019 and Voluntary Voting for 16 to 17 Year Olds Within Victorian State Elections set for debate.