YMCA Youth Parliament gives 120 young Victorians a chance to experience what it’s like to be in parliament, by writing draft laws or changes to laws, then debating them in Victoria’s parliamentary chambers.
What is Youth Parliament?
YMCA runs the Youth Parliament program with support from the Victorian Government. Each year twenty teams of young people aged 16 to 25 develop draft laws that tackle issues that affect young Victorians.
As part of team of six people you will:
- research an issue you are passionate about
- develop a Bill to solve the issue
- present and debate the Bill in the parliamentary chambers.
Successful Bills are given assent by the Youth Governor of Victoria. The Bills are then handed over to the Victorian Government to consider.
Along the way you will learn how to:
- research important issues
- draft and debate laws
- speak in public
- lead people and teams
- influence public policy.
What's involved and when does it happen?
You will take part in two residential camps at Lake Dewar Lodge YMCA. At a three-day training weekend in late May you will meet all the other teams, learn parliamentary etiquette and get training in public speaking. In July you will attend a week-long residential camp, which includes three days of debate in Parliament House.
Your team will meet with a mentor two to three times throughout the program. The mentor will help you write and present the Bill. You will be expected to spend another few hours on your own writing the Bill and speeches.
Examples of Bill topics from previous years
More than 25 Bills passed by Youth Parliament have gone on to become law, including:
- alternative sentencing for non-violent crimes extended
- concessions for students on public transport
- increased incentives for relocations of skilled professionals to rural areas
- universal accessibility of all musical and cultural festivals
- container deposit scheme (cash-for-cans/bottles)
- mandatory wearing of bike helmets
- nightclub safety reform.
How to apply
If you are aged between 16 and 25 and you live in Victoria you can apply. Applications open in mid-January and close in mid-March. For more information visit How to apply on the YMCA website.
Youth Parliament costs about $4,000 per team. You can raise some or all of this money through fundraising or sponsorship. Some schools, community groups or YMCA-managed centres sponsor teams.
The Youth Parliament Taskforce can help your team with fundraising or sponsorship. There is extra helps for rural/regional teams, so if your team needs financial help you should state this on your application form. For more information about financial help and sponsorship, visit Support for the Teams on the YMCA website.
Youth Press Gallery
The YMCA Youth Press Gallery gives young people a chance to get experience in communication and journalism. As part of the Youth Press Gallery you will:
- write and publish articles about Youth Parliament issues for print and online media outlets, including the YMCA Press Gallery website
- interview members of the Victorian Parliament and the Youth Parliament participants
- manage social media
- produce and edit footage of the debates
- photograph Youth Parliament participants during speeches and at Youth Parliament functions.
For more information visit YMCA Press Gallery on the YMCA website