Watch DCA’s Deafhood YMCA Youth Parliament Team Debate in Parliament

Cate Dunn, Tayla Percy, Nicholas Steer, Kelly Sparks and Sara Weir are looking to make their mark on the political world through the YMCA’s Victorian Youth Parliament program, beginning on 2 July.


Proud DCA Deafhood YMCA Youth Parliament team members Sara, Cate, Nick, Kelly and Tayla at Parliament House

YMCA Victoria Youth Parliament is a program designed to give young Victorians between the ages of 16 – 25 a chance to be heard at the highest levels of State Government. Twenty teams develop a Bill, which they debate in Victorian Parliament over three days each July. Bills that pass in Youth Parliament are then given to the relevant minister for consideration. In the program’s 31 year history, more than 25 Youth Parliament Bills have gone on to become Victorian legislation.

DCA’s Deafhood team will table their Bill, ‘Compulsory Captioning in Victorian Cinemas’ on 2 July. Sara, Cate, Nick, Kelly and Tayla hope to eliminate barriers that the deaf and hard of hearing community face when going to the cinema by making captioning compulsory. Currently, there are only a small number of sessions that are captioned.

‘Our bill is important to me as it aims to eradicate some of the barriers deaf and hard of hearing people face daily in society,” Cate said.

“If our Bill’s successful, I would hope it leads to not only a more equitable society for deaf and hard of hearing people but awareness for all – which in the long term acts to diminish negative stigma for our community.”

This is 18-year-old Cate’s second year as part of YMCA’s Youth Parliament. For her, the program gives young people an opportunity to voice issues concerning them, as well as skills to use later in life.

“It is important for young people to get involved in politics as it empowers them and implements the belief that their voice deserves to be heard. It gives us the confidence to do so.”

Kelly added, “This bill is important to me because this is a non-issue for hearing individuals and yet an unnecessary challenge imposed on the Deaf community. I think it is important for this issue to be seen and heard by hearing businesses and individuals so they can understand the struggles faced by the deaf community. In my future, I hope to see more equality for deaf people.

Allowing young people to become involved in parliament is really important as so many new initiatives come from young minds. Challenges faced by the wider population (and younger generations) may not be issues to parliamentarians, and therefore young people need to make these issues heard.”

YMCA Youth Parliament of Victoria sits on 2, 3 and 5 July.

More than 25 pieces of State Legislation have come from the Youth Parliament, including:

  • Roadside Drug Testing for Drivers
  • Over the Counter Availability of the Morning After Pill
  • Mandatory Wearing of a Bicycle Helmet
  • Removal of Glass from Identified High-Risk Entertainment Venues
  • Gun Reformation Laws

Go to our main Youth Parliament 2018 page to see the Deafhood Team members. Follow the team on Facebook, complete their cinema captioning survey and get in to Parliament House to watch them debate their Bill!

There’s a competition for the most likes on each team’s Facebook page so please get behind them in every way you can.

Thanks to Kim Price from Youth Parliament’s Press Gallery for help with this article and for supporting the Deafhood team with communications.

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