Veronika Drago - Youth Governor
Over the last few years Veronika Drago has dedicated her time to leading Victoria's youth in voicing their opinions and influencing serious public issues at the annual Victorian Youth Parliament.
Despite being involved in Youth Parliament since she was in high school, Drago, 22, said she couldn't be more excited by the achievements of the 2012 youth parliamentarians.
Drago, who was the Youth Governor of Youth Parliament in 2011 and 2012, said the 2012 parliamentarians had debated some extremely significant issues.
"Each year we debate an issue of public importance, and this year we debated the issue of gay marriage," Drago said. "The bill was eventually passed, so I thought it was great to learn that the young people of Victoria are for gay marriage."
As well as gay marriage, the 20 eager teams of six 16-25 year olds debated other serious matters.
"This year we debated a really diverse range of things," Drago said. "Things like alternative juvenile justice, increased representation of indigenous people in parliament, and an increased tourism and retail bill were bills that were debated and passed."
Drago said the parliamentarians also passed a bill relating to rural assistance.
One of the beauties of Youth Parliament, according to Drago, is that the six teams did not have to align themselves with any political party.
"We're completely apolitical," she said. "We don't align ourselves with any party whatsoever. It's just youth opinion based."
Drago said she was also thrilled to see a more diverse range of parliamentarians than in previous years. "We always get parliamentarians from the city and rural Victoria," she said, "but this year we also had a team of young indigenous parliamentarians and some young refugees."
"This was so great to see, because you really want all the different opinions to be heard."
2012 was Drago's last year of involvement in Youth Parliament and was once again a rewarding experience.
"It's just been an amazing experience," Drago said. "It really does change who you are and your outlook on youth perspective."
Drago insists that all young Victorians take part in Victorian Youth Parliament. It not only offers a rare insight into the way parliament works, it also provides an opportunity to really have your voice heard.
"We encourage people to keep in touch and know what's going on through our Facebook and Twitter pages," Drago said. "It's such a great thing to get involved in and take your issues into your own hands and do something with them."
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