YMCA Youth Parliament

Cate Dunn, Tayla Percy, Nicholas Steer, Kelly Sparks and Sara Weir made their mark on the political world through the YMCA’s Victorian Youth Parliament program, on 2 July 2018.

Youth Parliament

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

Read more about each Deafhood team member below.

Meet the 2018 Youth Parliament Team

Photo of Tayla PercyTayla

Age: 19
What I do: Melbourne Polytechnic, Diploma of Auslan & Part-time work
Why I joined Youth Parliament? I love the idea of changing the world while improving the community especially the deaf community and I love meeting new people, doing new experiences and fun adventures.

Photo of Kelly SparksKelly

Age: 24
What I do: Auslan interpreter & Swimming teacher
Why I joined Youth Parliament: I joined Youth Parli to show my support to the Deaf community, as they have given me soo much over the years and as a personal challenge for myself to step outside my comfort zone. Also I really like captions !!!

Photo of Sara WeirSara

Age: 18
What I do: Psychological Science Student
Why I joined Youth Parliament: I joined Youth Parliament because it is a fantastic opportunity to have our say and empower young people to be an active participant in their communities.

Photo of Cate DunnCate

Age: 18
What I do: Year 12 VCE student
Why I joined Youth Parliament: I joined Youth Parliament after previous involvement as I know the benefits it has for not only the Deafhood team but all those participating as well as the opportunity to meet incredible passionate and like minded people.

Photo of Nick SteerNicholas

Age: 23
What I do: Criminology Student
Why I joined Youth Parliament: Deafhood shows that deaf people can have a voice, Youth Parliament is an amazing platform to speak on, and the people in the program are amazing.

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