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"Youth Parliament has given me so many learning experiences - from adopting different ways to see the world to connecting with others."

Rachel - Youth Parliamentarian
Rachel - Youth Parliamentarian Rachel, 17, joined the Youth Parliament program for the first time in 2023.

Rachel is a 17-year-old student from Parramatta who is new to the Youth Parliament program in 2023 and making inroads with her passion for advocating gender equality.

As NSW’s premier youth empowerment program operating for over 20 years, Youth Parliament offers young people the opportunity to debate in NSW Parliament, create Youth Bills on issues for change, and have their voices and recommendations heard by Members of Parliament. 

Aimed at young people in years 10 to 12 or equivalent age, the Y NSW Youth Parliament highlights the power of young people speaking on issues that are important to them and their local communities.  

Every Youth Parliament participant’s potential to lead, learn and connect is nurtured through parliamentary education, community engagement, confidence building and teamwork. Participants develop their skills in creating social impact and positive change in a diverse, inclusive, safe and supportive environment, which has proven positive for Rachel.

“The Youth Parliament program provides the unique opportunity to not only connect with people who have various perspectives, but who are willing to debate diplomatically about social issues. Young people’s voices are more important than ever before and I think it’s really encouraging to see the activism of our generation,” explained Rachel.

“Youth Parliament teaches the young people how to lead and engage in debate that is productive and has the potential to make change. The opportunity to draft a bill has been so exciting and inspiring, as politics can often seem inaccessible,” she added.

Rachel is part of the Women’s Affairs committee where she supported the drafting of a bill to support mothers returning to work as part of the 2023 program.

“For me, intersectionality is so important, not just in social justice movements, but also in legal representation. Although we have come so far in terms of representation of women in our parliament, there is still much more work to do.

“As part of the program, we drafted a bill that supports mothers’ reintegration into the workforce after maternity leave through breaking down stigma, creating easily accessible counselling programs for new mothers, introducing childcare services in government workplaces and increasing income support for mothers experiencing financial instability,” concluded Rachel.

When asked about Rachel’s experience in Youth Parliament so far, she explained that it has been life changing, giving her so many new opportunities and confidence.

“Youth Parliament has given me so many learning experiences - from adopting different ways to see the world to connecting with others,” said Rachel.

“I’ve been able to develop my own leadership style that is inclusive and considers everyone’s needs and hearing my peers’ insights and passionate voices has empowered me and helped support the confidence to develop my own voice,” she concluded.

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