Storming Parliament with a Youth Front

I was absolutely graced to have been part of the 26th YMCA Youth Parliament program this year. From a few weeks ago, it was Sam and Quoc and I in my team which made it to training and, Elaine and Conrad and Simon – other Swinburne students in which all of us constituted the Swinburne University Team. 115 young people united up in Lake Dawar whom some new to the antics of the “Taskforce” a number of highly motivating and inspiring individual who we would later learn and share so much.

Sunday

Hello to our new parliamentarians and a welcome return to those we had met at training camp. Those unfamiliar were thrown into the all-involved team that is Recreation (or ‘Rec’ for short – or for getting ‘wrecked’ – which as assured).

Monday

This was a tremendous day for me as Youth Premier. The role is elected by the participants and is the front for the program, and wholly represents the program and the values of wider young people in general.

My day started much earlier (I very much dislike waking up before 6am), and I was so stoked to be asked to stand alongside Youth Governor Veronica Drago to be interviewed by “Breakfast” on Channel 10 in Sydney. We were crossed to in conjunction with Youth Parliament in NSW.

In Parliament we were welcomed, and as first introductions go, Veronica again impressed everyone with her speech. We then continued into our matters of public importance. This year is the second year that an Australia wide topic is decided through a survey of young people around the country.

The results show that legalizing same-sex marriage was a concern for younger people. I was pleased to deliver a 5 minute speech for the cause and our house, on the conscience vote, our house voted unanimously for it. Our house saw the passing of two out of the three bills put forth for debate.

Tuesday

A sleep is quite welcomed, and surprisingly I was able to spring into my old cadet habits and get changed, and dressed within 10 minutes. Wasn’t expecting the hot water to be unserviceable but that never stops the Youth Premier.

It was a pretty full on day but the beginning was awesome. It’s not everyday you can sing and dance on the steps of Parliament on Spring Street. But dancing aside, it was time to move to the beat of our hearts and our bills. Reflecting on things brought to the table, the issues were vast and highly relevant to young people.  The reality is there are issues that are indeed affecting our youth on an everyday basis. I am glad that effort has been made to bring innovative and typically ignored ideas to the forefront.

That aside, I had some other side line issues like that of a wardrobe malfunction. My bow-tie was not those instant clip on ones (thank-you-very-much). But what I had mistook as someone readjusting it had actually undone it. And I couldn’t recall how to tie it (did wing it in the morning.) But that corrected itself – sigh.

By surprise I was called out. Things racing through my mind is did I breach protocol, alas it wasn’t such an emergency and I was pleased to hear that Father Bob McGuire had made his way down to visit us. He is a fantastic human being to deal with, and I think we were all blessed by his presence. We shared some jokes, and he commented light-heartedly about things getting done in Victoria by it’s new Premier and Parliament.

Wednesday

‘Rec’ (or wreck) Wednesday.

But it was a tame start in the morning we had some sessions run by the always-fabulous taskforce. I think it was quite a special time for me. Each person rotated around five issues that they wanted to engage with. In each and every session I was so impressed with the level of understanding, and how we each tackle issues like environmental action, gender equality, the role of multinational organisations or even public transport.

It was German themed for the rest of the day, with Pretzels to snack on and Kranskies for lunch.

Thursday and Friday were a blast. Will pop this story up after elections.

I give a heartfelt thankyou to each and every one of the youth parliamentarians, and those that stood alongside and supported, representing all other young Victorian’s for a greater cause. You have made the program what it has been, and I cannot imagine a better program.

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