From July 8-13, 46 of Western Australia’s next generation of passionate change advocates had their voices heard in State Parliament on important issues affecting youth in Western Australia. The YMCA WA Youth Parliament camp saw participants stand up, debate, argue and pass five bills in Parliament House on a vast amount of issues from across the state.
The eight bills argued saw constructive and engaging debates from all youth parliamentarians, governed by WA politicians. Throughout the week the topic of conversation was on mental health in youth, in particular in the State Mental Health and Counseling Reform Bill and the Adjournment Debate, which saw many participants discussing and addressing mental health issues as being one of the most important challenges facing today’s youth.
The Mental Health bill aimed to mandate ten extra counseling session and one compulsory mental health check-up every year at school to support and break down the stigma about mental health. Although the bill did not pass, the ideas behind it were widely supported outside the Chamber.
On Thursday after completing the final day in Parliament, YMCA WA 2018 Youth Parliament participant, Euan Gleeson-Brown said “It’s fantastic to not only talk to politicians and people who are in grass-root organisations but also those who are involved in legislation and pushing community development programs. It doesn't stop when Youth Parliament ends, it continues well beyond.”
Another participant, Jeneba Macauley, also discussed her experience at this year’s camp. She said “YMCA Youth Parliament is important because it gives youth not only a voice but an opportunity to represent matters we care about. This experience not only encourages the ideas, it gets you to write them down and create almost concrete statutes for what you’d like to change in your community and state.”
This year’s Youth Parliament not only brought success to five bills being passed onto Members of the Government and Opposition for their review and consideration, it has also encouraged the youth to develop their personal skills and take an active role in their community.