Victorian Youth Parliament 2012
Guest reporter William Stojkovski, Youth Parliament media liaison, talks about how Youth Parliament contradicts all the stereotypes of young people as apathetic and self-interested.
I do not care about how our country is run. I will not contribute to my community. I could not care less about local politics. I would rather sit at home on Facebook, or browse for funny videos of cats on YouTube. You will never catch me voicing my opinion on a matter of public importance - that's totally lame. And, like, I only totally speak in a way that's, like, totally cool. LOL. I'm just like every other youth in Victoria.
Generalisations are, and will continue to be, a plague upon society's youthful population. The constant opinion that the youth of today are delinquents, that we are each reincarnations of Corey Worthington - waiting to throw a house party in your street - is the one that most people are comfortable in holding. Well, prepare to become uncomfortable because these simplifications could not be further from the truth (and we hated his yellow sunglasses just as much as you did).
The 2012 Victorian Youth Parliament is proof that these 'facts' about young people are not facts at all, but rather common misconceptions. It is proof that you don't have to be forty years old and wearing a tacky business suit to care about issues. For twenty-six years Youth Parliament has proved time and time again that the opinions of young people are highly undervalued and yearning to be heard.
The Youth Parliament program, which in 2012 year sees 120 kids aged between 16 and 25 take over the reigns of Parliament, allows this group of young people to create their own Bills of proposed legislation and to debate them within the walls of Victoria's Parliament House.
Bills that are passed during Youth Parliament are each then passed on to the relevant Victorian Government ministers for assessment. This has proven to be a successful process: over twenty pieces of proposed legislation that began their lives in the Youth Parliament of Victoria have gone on to become actual law. Don't tell us that we can't make a difference, because we already have.
Not only is Youth Parliament a program that allows young people to debate their own issues, it also allows them to become aware of countless other social, economic and political issues that are important to the youth of today. In the past these issues have included (but are not limited to): equal marriage rights, internet censorship, border security and issues with public infrastructure.
In 2012 the Victorian Youth Parliament will sit on 2, 3 and 5 July. On these dates all Victorians have the opportunity to visit Parliament House and witness, first hand, the youth of today fighting for change. It is on these days that the generalisations that have in previous times marginalised young people and forced them to become a stereotype will be declared void for the 26th time. It is on these days that we will all witness first hand the truly inspiring expression and eloquence of the youth of Victoria, and bear witness to the changes that young people see fit to make as active members of our society.
Youth Parliament has achieved many great things, but nothing is greater than the simple opportunity for these young people to stand up, talk hard, and be heard. Plus we're throwing a massive party on the streets of Melbourne right after proceedings (just kidding!).
All Victorians are invited to come and watch Youth Parliament on the 2nd, 3rd, and 5th of June, at Parliament House, Melbourne, between 10am and 4pm. For more info check out www.youthcentral.vic.gov.au/youthparliament. For more articles about Community and Activism, check out our Articles Archive.