Youth Parliament is a program run by YMCA Youth Services that gives young people a chance to be heard at the highest levels of the Victorian Government. Through this program, young people between the ages of 16 and 25 can share their views on a wide range of issues relevant to their lives.
How your voice will be heard
Twenty teams of six participants receive training in public speaking and leadership at residential camps, as they research the issues they are most passionate about. With the assistance of an experienced Taskforce, compiled of past participants, the team will research and debate a state issue they are passionate about and present it in the form of a Bill in the parliamentary chambers.
Bills passed by the Youth Parliament and given the assent of the Youth Governor, are then passed onto the State Government of the day for consideration.
YMCA Victoria’s Youth Parliament is open to the general public and we encourage friends, families, teachers and sponsors of the 20 teams from around Victoria to come along during the sitting days to experience the high quality of debate. Additionally, the program starts with an official opening ceremony, during which the young people are welcomed into the Victorian Parliament. The program concludes with the closing ceremony, during which the bills that have passed through the Youth Parliament are handed to Victorian Premier for consideration. Both of these events are also open for public attendance.
The first Australian YMCA Youth Parliament was held in Brisbane in 1963. 116 young people from all states spent two weeks in preparation for, and presentation of, the 1963 Youth Parliament in the Legislative Council of the Queensland Parliament. In 1985, the State Director of the YMCA Victoria, Mr Dave Davis, put forward the idea of developing and presenting a Youth Parliament to a group of young people from around Victoria who represented their local YMCAs. Victoria’s first Youth Parliament was held in the Legislative Council, Parliament House, September 1987.
In the Victorian Youth Parliament’s 35-year history, more than 30 pieces of state legislation have originated in the Youth Parliament, including:
- Roadside drug testing for drivers
- Over the counter availability of the morning after pill
- Mandatory wearing of a bicycle helmet
- Removal of glass from identified high-risk entertainment venues
- Gun reformation laws