Calls to halt teenage cosmetic surgery

DEBATE: Emma Wright, Chloe Lacey, Lachlan Pleasance, Abigail Morvell and Dylen Lenny Brown.
DEBATE: Emma Wright, Chloe Lacey, Lachlan Pleasance, Abigail Morvell and Dylen Lenny Brown.

IF a 16-year-old wants to get a nose job or to have their ears cosmetically pinned back, they simply need to walk into a surgeon's office.

At present, the law allows minors to undergo certain cosmetic procedures without their guardian's consent.

But a group of central Victorian teenagers wants this to change.

The Gannawarra Shire Youth Parliament Team will take a bill "Minors and Cosmetic Procedures" to parliament house at the end of the month, where it will be debated.

The bill proposes changing the law so people aged 16 to 18 must have their guardian's consent to undergo a cosmetic procedure.

It also stipulates a three-month "cooling off period" between an initial consultation with a surgeon and an operation, to prevent impulsive decisions that could have permanent implications.

Abigail Morvell, a year 11 student at Kerang Technical College and team spokeswoman, said cosmetic procedures at a young age should be discouraged.

"We were researching the legal age for this and we saw that it was only 16 and we thought that was not right," she said.

"Removing the option of getting (cosmetic surgery) will make individuals look at themselves in a different way.

"Instead of thinking, 'What can I change about myself?' they will learn to like (themselves).

"I think a lot of rash decisions are made at that age - we don't think too much into it.

"We do know that some doctors are pushing to raise the legal age."

She said cosmetic surgery could have negative ramifications for people who were not fully grown.

The teens will debate the bill - and several others - at the Victorian parliament on June 30, July 1 and July 3.

Participants will vote on each team's bill and select bills will eventually be passed on to Youth Affairs Minister Ryan Smith, to be considered by the government.

Some Youth Parliament bills have gone on to become laws.

Fairfax Media reported last year that The Cosmetic Physicians Society of Australasia had proposed stricter, government-controlled guidelines regarding cosmetic procedures by teens.

Youth Parliament Victoria is hosted by the YMCA and allows people aged 16 - 25 the chance to voice their opinions in the hope of influencing the government.

The first youth parliament took place in Queensland in 1963.


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