The first bill presented in the Legislative Council is a Bill for an Act to establish Compulsory Training for Victorian Police Surrounding Sensitive Issues Bill 2021.
Newhaven College sponsored the Bill while Ivanhoe Girls’ Grammar School refuted.
The key components of the bill include:
- The establishment of the Sensitive Issues Training of Police (SITOP) Board, that will train police on ‘sensitive’ issues.
- The board will consist of trained psychologists, domestic and family violence specialists, and advocates of ‘sensitive’ issues.
- The ‘sensitive’ issues include racism, family violence, sexual assault, and mental health.
- Police will receive mandatory training for one week as part of their standard academy training, and will require an 85% score to pass.
The key critiques of the bill include:
- The punishments for failing to pass or attend the training for police officers are too extreme.
- It is unrealistic that a week of training will solve large cultural problems in the force.
- The police already have similar training schemes that are ineffective.
- There are logistical problems in fining police or taking them out of the force when they are required to serve their duties.
The bill passed the Legislative Council 18 – 16.
By Emily Dobson
The first bill presented in the Legislative Assembly is a Bill for an Act to establish increased support for youth Homelessness
The Wellington Shire Council’s bill for increased support for youth homelessness has passed. The bill campaigned for the establishment of an organisation called Homeless Youth Solutions, which will deconstruct hostile architecture, implement support services for mental health, food and shelter, create safety houses and increase support for rural youth.
Here’s what the Wellington Shire Council argued about the bill:
- The bill helps with addressing hostile architecture which inhibits homeless youth from sleeping in public spaces.
- The bill will establish services that provide food, shelter and mental health support.
- Young people who are homeless often experience freezing temperatures during the colder months. This bill will help with that.
- Overall, this will “flatten” the number of youths experiencing homelessness.
Here’s what the opposition, Overnewton Anglican Community College argued:
- The bill is “flawed right down to the bone” and unrealistic.
- Having volunteers running the services will create inconsistency and may result in a lack of volunteers.
- The government cannot afford housing considering how expensive housing in cities is.
- The police having to oversee some of services will put strain on police departments.
- There are gaps in the bill about what will happen when young people cease to be young.
- The bill is unrealistic in a COVID-19 environment.
The bill passed the Legislative Assembly with an overwhelming majority.
By Simone Kealy
In the second debate of the day, the Compulsory LGBTQIA+ Education for Primary School Students Bill 2021 was put forward to the Legislative Council
The Westbourne Grammar School (Government) sponsored the Bill while Mildura Rural City Council (Opposition) refuted. The document aimed to provide LGBTQIA+ sex education to all Victorian schools, to support queer youth in their discovery of self identify and safeguarding sexual health.
The Bill was comprehensive covering key aspects such as:
- Compulsory sex education inclusive of LGBTQIA+ communities, pertaining to sexuality, anatomy and relationships to be implemented in all Victorian schools in Year 5 and 6.
- An opt out option for individuals that accommodates freedom of choice and expression for those whose religious beliefs or familial circumstances prohibit education.
- The Bill is inclusive of all Victorian schools, including religious and special needs institutions.
- Incorporating this curriculum into tertiary education courses, ensuring that teachers are well equipped to support and guide students.
- A council that will review and ensure relevancy for the curriculum, monitoring its effectiveness in schools.
The Government highlighted that while children are taught early on about safe and consensual sex in a heteronormative society, queer citizens are often excluded. Therefore, sex education has to adapt, to prepare all youth for future relationships, while normalising queerness in society.
Primary critiques of the bill included:
- Exposing children to this education would be inappropriate at such a young age.
- Fear of increased family violence due to unaccepting and prejudiced family members.
- Infringement on religious and cultural sensitivities and differences.
The Opposition largely agreed with the idea that LGBTQIA+ sex education must be incorporated in curriculum. However, they took issue with the timing of the education. As quoted, “it’s not why, but when.” This was rebutted by the Government, who highlighted that primary students are educated by the current curriculum about drugs, alcohol and sex from Year 2. Opposition also highlighted that for increased effectiveness, queer sex education must be continued into high school.
The Westbourne Grammar School (Gov) bill was passed with a majority vote of aye’s.
By Abbygail Shun
The second debate presented to the Legislative Assembly was a Bill for an Act to raise the age of criminal responsibility from 10 to 14
Trigger Warning: Discussion of incarceration, racism and child removal.
The Skyline Foundation’s Bill proposes raising the age of criminal responsibility from 10 to 14 years of age. The Bill would thus look to keep those aged 10-14 out of the juvenile detention system, as well as removing those children in this age category who are already in the system.
The Bill would also seek to provide support to children in this age bracket who are at risk of or who commit offenses, including through targeted therapy, education and social work. This program would be overseen by an advocacy body.
The Skyline Foundation sponsored the Bill while the Melbourne High Changemakers refuted it.
The main points raised in favour of the Bill included:
- The harm that the juvenile detention system does to children.
- That entry into the juvenile detention system increases the likelihood of reoffending.
- That the juvenile detention system as it currently exists is biased against BIPOC.
- That a punitive system does not address causes of criminality and thus fails to prevent it.
- That juvenile detention removes children from their communities.
- That criminalizing those aged 10-14 does not “treat children like children”.
The main points raised in opposition to the Bill include:
- That leniency for people in this age category already exists in the legal system.
- That it would be more efficient to fix the juvenile detention system than invest in the rehabilitation system put forward by the Bill.
- That removing children who have committed crimes from communities both protects the children and those around them.
- The advocacy body proposed in the Bill would not have enough oversight.
- Some children aged 10-14 may be actively malicious and be beyond rehabilitation.
Skyline’s Bill for Raising the Age of Legal Raising the Age of Criminal Responsibility was passed in the Legislative Assembly.
By Charlie Goldberg