Bendigo’s young parliament team.
By Sam Kane
A GROUP of Bendigo young people will push for compulsory LGBTIQ education in Victorian public secondary schools when they take to Spring Street for YMCA Victoria’s Youth Parliament next week.
The program, now in its 33rd year, gives 120 people aged 16-25 the opportunity to write and debate legislation at Parliament House, with successful bills being passed on to the relevant Victorian minister.
Georgia Cutajar, Lucy McNaughton-Perry, Cheyenne Cadence, Billie Taylor, Penelope Dodsworth and Annika Ritchie make up the Bendigo team, who have spent the past three months drafting and preparing their legislation.
The bill also proposes that school staff be required to undertake compulsory training that covers LGBTIQ identity, sexual health, relationships and consent.
The team hopes their bill will remove stigma amongst the general population by providing accurate information and ensuring secondary school students are aware of sexual diversity in the Victorian community.
“It’s important to give education to young people when they’re discovering their own identity and exploring relationships,” Ms Ritchie said.
The team developed their bill after having conversations with other young people in Bendigo about issues they were passionate about.
“We had about five issues that we were really interested in, and we had a voting system for it,” Ms Taylor said.
They have also met with the Department of Education and Training in preparation for Youth Parliament.
The team will debate their bill in the Legislative Assembly on Monday, joining 19 other teams and issues from across Victoria.
* Sam Kane is a member of the YMCA Youth Press Gallery.
This article originally appeared on the Bendigo Weekly, June 28, 2019.