Top billing for region's clever youth

Generic photo. Picture: THINKSTOCK

Generic photo. Picture: THINKSTOCK

A BILL calling on the state government to amend the Equal Opportunity Act created by six students from the Bendigo region has been passed at the YMCA Youth Parliament of Victoria.

Sophie Rhule, Karl Strybosch, Jemille McKenzie, Shane Sawyers, Jessica Denehey and Nick Karlin put forward legislation which calls for the removal of the ability for religious organisations to discriminate based on personal characteristics.

Bills passed by the Youth Parliament are given the assent of the Youth Governor before being handed to housing and children and early childhood development Wendy Lovell.

Ms Lovell will then pass the bills to the relevant government ministers for consideration.

Miss Rhule said the team was proud their piece of legislation had been passed through the Youth Parliament.

"The ability for religious organisations to discriminate based on factors such as gender, sexuality and marital status has no place in today's society," she said.

"This bill makes it crystal clear that nobody is above the law."

Meanwhile, a motion put forward by six students from the Mount Alexander Shire calling for increased support for volunteers in emergency services in Victoria has also been passed.

The group consisted of Nicholas West, Ashely Penrose, Maddie Williams, Alexandra Squires, Patrick Petterson and Matilda Bell-Wilcock.

Mr West said his team's bill addressed the lack of financial support for those who volunteered their time to keep communities safe.

Youth Governor William Stojkovski praised both teams on their efforts on making their voices heard.

"I hope the state government considers these issues very seriously, as the (Youth Parliament) debate has shown just how   important they are   to many young people across Victoria," he said. 

More than 25 bills that have been passed through Youth Parliament have gone on to become Victoria legislation, including Drug Testing for Drivers, Over the Counter Availability of the Morning After Pill and Replacing Glass with Plastics in Nightclubs notorious for glass-related violence.

For more information about Youth Parliament visit, www.vicyouth.ymca.org.au

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