Jaeger Doornbusch Peters, Sonaa Aneja and Blake Mercer attended their first Youth Parliament training session.

City of Swan students selected to Youth Parliament

The Youth Parliament program is designed to offer young people insight into Australian politics so they can better engage in the processes that shape policy.
May 9, 2024
Peter W Lewis

THREE young people from Bassendean, Ellenbrook and Caversham have been selected to be part of this year’s Y WA’s Youth Parliament program.

Jaeger Doornbusch Peters will represent the Bassendean electorate, Sonaa Aneja from Ellenbrook will represent Swan Hills, while Blake Mercer from Caversham is representing the Midland electorate

Jaeger said this was the first time that he had attended the Youth Parliament program and he joined because he wanted to form a better understanding of the legislative process.

“I also wanted to find like-minded individuals to connect with,” he said.

He said he was specifically interested in the government portfolios of science and innovation, his favourite areas of study.

“By being part of the program I hope to gain insight into the inner workings of government to enable more effective government participation and advocacy in the future,” he said.

“Young people provide a different perspective on the current issues, facing different problems and thus having different priorities.

“I think the opinions of young people are important to get fresh eyes on matters of state.”

Fiftynine young people from across WA make up the diverse group chosen to represent their local electorates in the program providing young West Australian’s the opportunity to engage in a once in a lifetime political leadership experience.

Preparations are underway to determine which topics will be debated covering issues from any state government portfolio.

The four-month program, run by the Y, offers a unique opportunity for young people to actively participate in the democratic process and have their voice heard by policy makers.

Offering an insight into the world of Australian politics, participants have already met to discuss the training they will receive, which will include three full day training workshops as well as online meeting as they draft, debate, and advocate for mock youth-focused legislation.

Y WA chief executive officer Tim McDonald said the program, now in its 29th year, offered young people an insight into the workings of government and policy development.

“What makes it so special is that it aims to be truly representative of the views and concerns of the state’s next generation of community leaders,” Dr McDonald said.

Throughout the program, participants act as ‘youth members’, representing a state electorate in parliament.

The program will culminate in members attending Parliament House on July 8, 9 and 11 to participate in a live debate in the chamber.

On completion all bills are presented to members of the government and opposition for their review and consideration, as well as being presented to the Governor of Western Australia, the Lord Mayor of Perth and the WA Department of Communities.

Previous Bills, all chosen by the youth, have covered daylight saving, sexual health, housing affordability, environmental responsibility, water provision, education, juvenile justice, health access in the regions, entertainment precinct curfews, youth-based decision making and learner driver laws.

“It’s an incredible opportunity for young people to advocate, grow skills and make life-long connections. Programs such as this offered by the Y WA are impactful and make a real difference through providing people with the opportunity to reach their full potential,” Dr McDonald said.

The Youth Parliament is led and run by a team of young people, volunteers and former participants.

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