Are you a young leader?

Are you a young leader?

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The Y WA (formerly YMCA) is calling for the next generation of youth leaders to apply for the 29th Y WA Youth Parliament program.

This four-month program offers an 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 will draft, debate, and advocate for mock youth-focused legislation and gain insight into the workings of government and policy development.

Maisara Muzaffar from Thornlie was Youth Leader of the Opposition in the 2023 Y WA Youth Parliament and strongly encourages young people to apply.

“Being Leader of the Opposition taught me that true leadership begins with the courage to believe in oneself and inspiring others to do the same,” she said.

“I was privileged to work alongside other motivated youth to drive change and positive differences. As a Y WA Youth Parliamentarian everyone gets the chance to influence policies that influences our lives.

“In 2024 I’m returning to the Y WA Youth Parliament as a Taskforce member with the intention of giving back, while also striving to inspire future generations to grow, flourish and thrive within themselves.

“I’m also currently working for a Federal Senator as an electorate officer, and I manage her social media and communications.”

The Y WA strives to bring together a diverse group, encouraging young people aged 15 to 25 from all backgrounds to apply for the apolitical program, including applications from Aboriginal young people and young people living in rural and remote locations.

The program aims to secure representatives from all 59 electoral districts across WA.

“If you’re a young person passionate about issues and representing your community, then this is a program for you,” CEO of the Y WA Dr Tim McDonald said.

“You’ll learn to work with a diverse range of people, gain deeper knowledge of political systems including how to create your own legislation and write speeches and you will develop lifelong friendships and networks.”

Throughout the program, participants act as “youth members”, representing a State electorate in parliament.

The program culminates in members attending Parliament House and participating in a 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 for Communities.

Youth members are the ones to decide which topics will be debated covering issues from any State Government portfolio.

Previous Bills 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, to name a few.

“The Y WA believes in empowering young people and offering them a platform to have their voices heard. This program encourages youth to create the change they want to see by advocating for meaningful change in their communities,” Dr McDonald said,

The program has seen many of its participants go on to work for Members of Parliament and political parties, some even becoming elected officials themselves, citing Senator Jordan Steele-John (The Greens), Doug Jackson (councillor for the Shire of Peppermint Grove) and Amy Astill (councillor for City of Kalgoorlie-Boulder) as previous participants.

The Y WA Youth Parliament is organised by a dedicated team of young people, including volunteers and former participants, with the assistance of the Department of Communities.

Applications close on 24 March 2024. To apply for the 2024 Y WA Youth Parliament program, visit https://bit.ly/YouthParliamentApplication2024