From Monday 15 July, around 80 young people from across NSW will take over the chambers of State Parliament House to debate bills on topics including youth mental health, stronger Indigenous representation in schools and climate and the environment, as part of the 2019 YMCA NSW Youth Parliament.
Now in its 18th year, this apolitical civic engagement program is the leading way for young people in NSW to learn about the parliamentary process and actively engage in public policy debate; and during the July sitting week have their voices heard at the highest level by the State’s politicians and lawmakers.
An inspiring and refreshing sight, each year participants engage with significant and complex issues, share their diverse experiences and speak from the heart.
This year’s Youth Premier is 17-year old Hamani Tanginoa from Campbelltown, who is on the Aboriginal Affairs Committee. Hamani, who is of Tongan, Wiradjuri and Goreng Goreng descent and is also part of the LGBTIQ+ community, says this year’s group is set to make a big impact.
“I’m so excited about this year’s Youth Parliament because we have such a passionate and respectful group of young people who are ready to debate some big issues and the things that really matter to them now in their day to day lives, and for the future.
“The YMCA NSW Youth Parliament program is unique in that it empowers young people not only by providing us a platform to have our ideas heard, but also gives us the opportunity to learn through hands on experience about the parliamentary process and how we as individuals have the ability to make a difference in our communities and society.
“For me, some of the things I’d love to see happen in Australia are constitutional recognition for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, more progress on LGBTIQ rights especially for trans people and working together as a society to eliminate violence against young people, much of which comes in the form of domestic violence.”
Hamani is currently completing his HSC, while also being a YMCA NSW Reconciliation Action Plan Ambassador and volunteering with the Camden Youth Action Team, a partnership between Camden Council and YMCA NSW to support local youth. In his spare time, he’s the lead singer of the band, the Lemonades.
After the HSC, he hopes to pursue both politics and music, and continue to advocate for the issues he is passionate about.
About the YMCA NSW Youth Parliament program, YMCA NSW CEO Susannah Le Bron said: “At the Y, we strive to provide all young people with opportunities to live their best life, as we believe that when young people are inspired, they are powerful.
“YMCA NSW Youth Parliament is a great example of this as year on year Youth Parliament delivers inspired young people who are empowered with a platform to have their say while also giving our politicians an insight into issues from a different and vital perspective through the eyes of the next generation.”
At the end of the sitting week, all pieces of youth legislation will be presented to NSW MPs for consideration. To date, over half a dozen pieces of youth legislation from YMCA NSW Youth Parliament has inspired NSW Law, including the Domestic Violence Disclosure Scheme.
Ms Le Bron added: “We are incredibly proud that this important program continues to directly have a hand in shaping policy and decision making in NSW and I look forward to seeing Hamani and his fellow youth parliamentarians in action this year.”
The YMCA NSW Youth Parliament program is run by YMCA NSW, with a volunteer taskforce of young people aged between 18 and 22 who facilitate youth-led advocacy, community leadership and education about the parliamentary process.
For more information about YMCA NSW Youth Parliament, head to our website.
Hamani and Susannah are available for interview.
If you would like to attend this year’s YMCA NSW Youth Parliament, sessions will be held at NSW Parliament House on Monday afternoon, Tuesday, Thursday morning and afternoons, and Friday mornings.
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