It’s day two! Sitting week continues

DeafVic present Bill for compulsory LOTE AUSLAN subject in schools

Deaf Victoria put forward a bill in the Legislative Council this morning to mandate a compulsory LOTE (Languages Other Than English) AUSLAN subject in Victorian schools. 

Members of the Deaf Victoria team signing “Happy National Deaf Week”

Some of the key components of the bill include:

  • The AUSLAN subject will be mandatory for all Victorian schools from Foundation to Year 10, with a minimum of 100 minutes of teaching per week.
  • A VCE and VET LOTE AUSLAN course will be available for Year 11 and 12 students.
  • The curriculum will be co-designed by the Victorian Curriculum Assessment Authority, linguistics experts, and a panel of deaf and hard of hearing people.
  • Relevant TAFE and university courses related to the teaching of LOTE AUSLAN will be subsidised to incentivise more AUSLAN teachers.
  • Teachers would also receive ongoing deaf awareness training.

Why do we need this bill?

  • More fluent AUSLAN speakers will create a more inclusive and equitable society for deaf and hard of hearing people.
  • AUSLAN has been proven to enhance educational and personal development, improve memory retention and motion processing, and stimulate brain development.
  • The hearing community will benefit from learning more about deaf culture and community.

What were the opposition’s critiques of the bill?

  • The time frame of the bill was deemed unrealistic.
  • The costs of implementing training for teachers was immense.
  • The requirement to have 100 minutes of AUSLAN teaching a week may struggle to align with conventional period times in schools.
  • The losses of jobs and opportunities to learn different languages due to the replacement of preexisting LOTE subjects with AUSLAN.
  • The course may use a lot of resources for limited outcomes, as many students may not retain AUSLAN after their studies.
  • Students who are already falling behind in their studies would struggle to keep up with the 
  • Differences in quality teaching and resource funding may widen the divide between private and public schools.


The bill passed. 

By Jacob Gamble.

Victorian youth want to see mandatory Reconciliation Plans in schools 

Oonah Yarra Ranges Council youth the Hon. Member Baulch, Hon. Member Hackett, Hon. Member Kavangh, Hon. Member Worden, Hon. Member Aseta and Hon. Member Duong developed their Mandatory Reconciliation Plans in Schools Bill for the second day of the 2021 YMCA Youth Parliament. 

Key aspects of the Bill:

  • Each Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) shall be developed in accordance with Reconciliation Australia’s Narragunnawali RAP Framework
  •  Each Victorian school will develop and enact their own unique RAP tailored to the needs of the local First Nations community
  •  A review with the local First Nations People shall occur every 6 months after the implementation of the RAP, to ensure the process is being respected and followed appropriately

A RAP aim to: 

  • Acknowledge and act upon the inequalities in educational outcomes between First Nation’s students and non-Indigenous students
  • Honour and respect the self-determination and knowledge of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in the reconciliation process
  • Include of practices to care for Country seeks to ensure a holistic approach is taken to protect the physical, sociocultural and spiritual connections between land and people

Key critiques:

Tarneit Senior College students the Hon Member Dua, Hon Member Parikh, Hon Member St-Pierre, Hon. Member Randhawa and Hon. Member Juman refuted the Bill and brought up three key points for consideration. 

  1. The Bill would require an increased workload from teachers which might lead to overworking staff. Likewise, the reviews every six months would add pressure to the education system
  2. The Bill needs to have more consultation with First Nations people to ensure misinformation is not spread and the culture is respected
  3. The team emphasised they admired the aims of the Bill, but thought it is some that is unattainable across every Victorian school and should therefore be directed to the Federal Government.


Mandatory Reconciliation Plans in Schools Bill for the second day of the 2021 the Legislative Assembly with an overwhelming majority: 23 votes in favour to six. The Bill will now be passed onto the Minister for Youth Ros Spence for consideration. 

By Kimberley Price. 

Parliament House in Stand Off about Criminalisation of Coercive Control Bill 2021

Mildura Rural City Council (Opp) v Westbourne Grammar School (Gov): Criminalisation of Coercive Control Bill 2021

Content Warning: Domestic violence and emotional abuse. 

Sponsored by the Opposition, this Bill was developed to address the ongoing and rising concerns of domestic violence rates in the state of Victoria. Many of the increasing domestic violence cases are born out of actions which may constitute coercive control under this legislation. The Opposition called for this Bill as a necessity due to the multitude of cases where emotional, financial and psychological abusers are not held accountable for their crimes, and the victims are endangered by the inability to submit abusers before the justice system. 

“The Criminalisation of Coercive Control Bill 2021 will help victims especially women and children to escape the abusive relationships that affect them emotionally, psychologically and financially.” – The Hon Member Ablett (Opp).

“A bruise may last a week, a cut a month, but damage from domestic abuse lasts a lifetime.” – The Hon Member Pall (Opp).

Key Components of the Bill

The Bill highlighted a slew of clauses including the disclosure of personal information, financial control or abuse, examples of manipulation and coercive punishments. 

📚 The disclosure of personal information 

  •  A person will not disclose any of the affected person’s personal information either privately or publicly. 
  •  A person shall not use personal information to manipulate an affected person. 

📚 Examples of manipulation by perpetrators can include— 

  • establishing a power imbalance at the affected person’s expense. 
  • taking advantage of a person with the intention of gaining control over them. 

📚 Financial control or abuse 

  • A person shall not exert unreasonable financial control over another or misuse finances as means to abuse, intimidate, harass or threaten an affected person. 

📚 Punishments 

  •  If a perpetrator is deemed to have coercively controlled an affected person, then the perpetrator shall be punished under the following guidelines—imprisonment with a minimum sentence of 2 years or a maximum sentence of 8 years. 

Key Critiques of the Bill

While the Opposition called for the criminalisation of these actions, the Government was certain that the harsh requirements of this bill would harm rather than help domestic abuse victims. A series of fiery statements were made condemning the bill and calling for review.

“This bill will create a lack of trust between the community and the police.” – The Hon Member Espinosa (Gov)

Critiques included:

  • Police often misinterpret domestic violence reports, with systemic prejudices causing them to side with the abuser. Mistreatment by police will also endanger the victims. 
  • Criminalising this could make it worse for victims as they will have to rehash their trauma in court. It places victims under the stress of court appearances, including sorting through the logistics of legal proceedings.
  • This Bill will only encourage perpetrators to coerce in the dark, while “begging victims a to stay silent” (as quoted by the Hon Member Mitchell)
  • Attention should be directed towards the prevention of abuse rather than the criminalisation AFTER the abuse.


  • “Prevention does not help current victims who are experiencing abuse now. Criminalising this will not only discourage future perpetrators, but also support those in need of help NOW.” – The Hon Member Beard (Opp)
  • The Bill includes failsaves for those who require rehabilitation.
  • This Bill is already put in place in states like Tasmania, exemplifying its necessity and advantages


After significant and heated debate on both ends, the Bill was passed with the Opposition winning the reform.

By Abbygail Shun.

The Y Ballarat demands increased efficiency for Public Bus Systems in Ballarat

The Y Ballarat has sponsored a Bill for an Act that would increase the efficiency of public bus systems in Ballarat. The Bill was presented in the Legislative Assembly earlier today for debate.

Key Components of the Bill

  • Establishment of the Office for Improving Ballarat Bus Services (OIBBS), this body would determine major routes that require extra buses, creating express routes during peak times
  • Increasing the capacity of public buses, during peak teams one additional bus shall be scheduled per major route, as determined by the OIBBS.
  • Creating express routes that would halve the time it takes for a major route to be completed during peak times.
  • Implementing a real time GPS tracking and bus timetables on screens at bus stops, as well as adding this tracking system to the establishing Public Transport Victoria (PTV) app. 

Key Critiques of the Bill

  • Critiqued as an inappropriate allocation of resources, for both Ballarat and Victoria, with calls to distribute funding to services such as mental health and education. 
  • This movement should be implemented statewide, not in a single town.
  • The COVID-19 pandemic has decreased the need for public transport
  • The Bill is potentially ageist, as it requires a knowledge and understanding of technology in order to use effectively. 
The Honourable Member Simmonds voted proudly in support of this Bill.


The bill passed with an overwhelming majority.  

By Emily Dobson.

The third bill presented in the Legislative Council for day two is a Bill for an Act to establish Establishment of Gender-Neutral Public Bathrooms Bill 2021.

Many were glad that the Bill passed. PHOTO: Simone Kealy

Here’s what the Castlemaine Secondary College argued:

  • Unisex bathrooms create strain and “unnecessary pain” for non-binary and transgender people.
  • Transgender and non-binary people experience harassment and assault when using unisex bathrooms, therefore this bill will prevent this.
  • Gender-neutral bathrooms will create a safe space for transgender and non-binary people.
  • The implementation of the bill, which changes signs on bathrooms to be gender-neutral, is simple and cost effective.
  • Having gender-neutral bathrooms will allow for fathers to also have access to baby-changing facilities.
  • The bill will educate the wider community about transgender and non-binary people and the issues they are facing, thus “normalising” and “destigmatising” non-binary and transgender peoples

Here’s what Boroondara City Council refuted:

  • Broadly, they are in favour of the bill, but they do have some concerns with the specifics.
  • The bill suggests that only 50 per cent of bathrooms have sanitary disposal units, which according to Boroondara City Council, could lead to harassment when transgender and non-binary people are waiting for a cubicle that has a sanitary disposal unit.
  • The campaign to educate the public, which will run on public transport, billboards, radio broadcasts, free-to-air television, print media and social media, is too expensive.
  • The bill doesn’t take into account Muslim women and women who feel uncomfortable when sharing a bathroom with men.
  • The bill suggests that the gender-neutral bathrooms need to be inspected every year. According to the Boroondara City Council, this is ineffective and unfeasible.


The bill passed the Legislative Council.

By Simone Kealy.

Victorian youths passionately argue to have mandatory rooftop gardens on government buildings in the CBD.

The Independents team has sponsored a Bill for an Act that would mandate rooftop gardens on Government buildings in the CBD. The Bill was presented in the Legislative Assembly earlier today in a fiery debate.

Key components of the Bill

  • The establishment of the Commission of Establishing Rooftop Gardens (CERG) will comprise four departments: an expert panel of environmentalists, a department of architecture, a landscaping firm, a department of human relations and public education.
  • CERG will monitor the development and sustainability of rooftop gardens as well as being responsible for the planning and execution of all rooftop gardens
  • All government buildings shall have rooftop gardens by the end of 2025.

Key critiques of the Bill

  • The Bill was critiqued for not considering public safety, as the construction of these gardens will need to have hazardous and heavy items to be placed on top of buildings and therefore have the potential of fall off and cause injury to pedestrians on the ground.
  • A point was raised that the resources used to construct the gardens can be used for the city’s other needs. Such as the water used for the gardens can be instead used to help with bushfires.


The Bill passed with an overwhelming majority.

By Farah Hawi.

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