Months of hard work and debate culminated in Youth Parliamentarians presenting nine Bills to NSW Ministers at Parliament House on 31 March 2022.
Minister for Women, Bronnie Taylor, accepts the Mental Health Bill from Youth Member for Blue Mountains, Claudia Wedesweiler.
The Presentation of the Bills took place in the NSW Parliament House Theatrette and was the result of research, debate and policy writing by 60 participants in the Y NSW Youth Parliament program.
The Y NSW Youth Parliament program immerses young people in all aspects of the legislative process and a mock parliament environment.
NSW Ministers were on hand to accept the Bills, including:
- The Hon. Ben Franklin, Minister for Aboriginal Affairs, the Arts and Regional Youth Ben Franklin
- The Hon. James Griffin, Minister for Environment and Heritage
- The Hon. Bronnie Taylor, Minister for Women
- The Hon. Wendy Tuckerman, Minister for Local Government
This year’s Youth Parliament Bills advocate for change across a broad range of issues including menstrual equity, modernising sex education and creating an inclusive uniform code within state schools.
Youth Member for Cessnock and Indigenous Australian, Ethan Floyd, helped draft the Aboriginal Affairs Bill that seeks to implement a mandatory framework for cultural connection and education within NSW juvenile detention centres.
“This morning as we woke up in our comfortable beds, more than 1,200 indigenous children across this state woke up behind the bars of a juvenile prison,” said 18-year-old Floyd.
“The piece of legislation that my committee has spent countless hours of their time drafting and which I now present to you, will have immeasurable positive effect on the lives of indigenous young people across our state."
“It is my hope for the future that our state legislators will see that our young people deserve to be used to pack shelves in their local shopping centres, not pack cells in their local detention centres.”
Youth Member for Cessnock, Ethan Floyd (top right) delivered the Aboriginal Affairs Bill on behalf of his committee
Youth Member for Kuringai and Youth Premier, Indigo Lee Wilson, delivered the Women’s Affairs Bill, in a powerful speech to peers and politicians.
“Women and girls should never have to improvise for them to have to go to school, or for them to be safe, and more than one in five Australians who menstruate have had to improvise on period products due to cost,” Lee Wilson said.
“I implore you to protect these young girls, I implore you to fight for equality and I implore you to fight for the basic fundamental human rights of women. The young people have unanimously voted for this Bill.”
Accepting the Bill, Minister for Women, Bronnie Taylor, confirmed that the Bill had influenced new state legislation, saying to Ms Lee Wilson: “So Premier, I’m very happy to tell you we recently made an announcement funding all sanitary products for girls in schools, so well done, that is because of you and your work, very happy to serve,” Ms Taylor said.
Since its beginning in 2002, approximately six pieces of the Y NSW Youth Parliament legislation have been passed into NSW Law, including the Domestic Violence Disclosure Scheme.
Minister Ben Franklin promised Youth Parliamentarians he would read every page of the nine Bills.
“I’ll give you this guarantee, I will read every word of the Bills I’m presented and I will listen to what you have argued, I will talk to my cabinet colleagues and I will advocate for the positions that you have put.” said Minister Franklin.
The ceremony was the first time 2021 Youth Parliament participants were able to meet each other in person, with Covid restrictions turning their parliamentary training and sitting days into an entirely virtual program.
From left: Y NSW Executive Leader Youth and Community Louisa McKay, Youth Action CEO Kate Munro, Y NSW Board Director Christina Harlamb, Y NSW Board Director David McKenna and Y NSW CEO Susannah Le Bron.
Y NSW CEO, Susannah Le Bron, paid tribute to the perseverance shown by participants during challenging times.
“It is absolutely for our purpose, which is that we believe in the power of inspired young people, every single one of you that are here today,” Le Bron said. “How extraordinary and how lucky we are that our future is in the hands of such capable, insightful and wow, such intelligent people that truly inspire me,” she said.
The 2022 Youth Parliament is fast taking shape. More than 90 young Australians, from across NSW, have been accepted into the program
The following Youth Parliament participants presented Bills:
- Handover of Aboriginal Affairs Bill – Ethan Floyd, Youth Member for Cessnock
- Handover of Rural and Regional Affairs Bill – Samuel Barry, Youth Member for Upper Hunter
- Handover of the Environment and Climate Change Bill – Youth Member for Wyong, Jayden Delbridge
- Handover of the Inclusion and Diversity Bill – Ariel Fraser, Youth Member for Blue Mountains
- Handover of the Justice Bill – Paige Goudie, Youth Member for Murray
- Handover of the Mental Health Bill – Claudia Wedesweiler, Youth Member for Blue Mountains
- Handover of the Women’s Affairs Bill – Indigo Lee Wilson, Youth Member for Kuringai
- Handover of the Transport, Roads and Infrastructure Bill – Zaccary Lancaster, Youth Member for Holsworthy
- Handover of the Education Bill – James Frost, Youth Member for Oatley
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