19th Youth parliament opens
Monday 7 July 2014
More than 100 young South Australians will learn about how Parliament works and debate the issues that matter to them during Youth Parliament this week.
Youth Minister Zoe Bettison officially opened the 19th session of Youth Parliament in the Legislative Council this morning.
"Youth Parliament provides a unique opportunity for young people across the state to learn about the parliamentary process," Ms Bettison said.
"Members of the public are encouraged to attend the debates, with topics including life skills education, entry-level jobs, support for refugees in schools, lowering the voting age, disability services and access, and youth mental health.
"The program helps young people increase their understanding of parliament and gain skills in the development of legislation, speech writing and debating."
Ms Bettison said the Youth Parliament program had played a role in educating more than 1000 young people since it began 19 years ago.
"Hopefully this has given them the confidence and skills to make a difference in their communities," she said.
Each year participants debate a topic from the Motion of Public Importance (MPI) which has usually been chosen by the Youth Governor. However, this year Youth Governor, Malwinka Wyra, decided to give young people across the State the opportunity to vote for this year's topic.
"Topic selection received an outstanding response from South Australian youth, with a large proportion of the voters choosing the MPI topic of marriage equality," Ms Bettison said.
"This is a reflection of what is most important to South Australian youth and I look forward to hearing about the debates and outcomes."
Youth Parliament is managed by YMCA South Australia and supported by the State Government.
The list of 16 Bills and the debate schedule can be viewed at www.sa.ymca.org.au.