This year, the Y WA Youth Parliament Taskforce have worked tirelessly to adapt the program to fit COVID-19 restrictions. The 59 participants engaged in their leadership and bill writing training completely online, making sure the same level of mentorship was provided. The camp, normally held in July, was safely postponed to late September at the Constitutional Centre of Western Australia.
Although the lead up to the camp was virtual, our Youth Parliamentarians got a real sense of connection from the process and created bills around topics that matter to young people which they put forward in Parliament.
Lucy, a 17-year-old Youth Parliament participant said, “Through this program I’ve developed my leadership skills such as public speaking, negotiation and decision making in times of immense pressure. When you’re among a chamber of young people that can be difficult, but this program, and across this entire week, I’ve learnt to refine and develop those skills.”
As a result of the camp, all bills debated were passed, ranging from climate change to coercive control and the suggestion to establish a permanent Youth Parliament in the State Government. This just highlights how effective the program is at empowering young people, by giving them the opportunity to raise the most pertinent issues affecting young people from all corners of WA.
Of all the bills, the Racial Hate Crime Prosecution and Victim Support Bill passed unanimously and is the third bill to do so in Youth Parliament history.
Youth Parliament Coordinator, Taylor Watson, remarked why the Y WA Youth Parliament camp is not only for those interested in politics, explaining, “Youth Parliament is more than politics, it’s a leadership program. Even if you don’t have an interest in politics, I would encourage you to apply because if your passionate about any issue, your voice can be amplified to the Government of the day. We’ve seen real change in legislation come out of the Y Youth Parliament, which is a testament to how brilliant this program is.”