YMCA Victoria Youth Parliament is a program designed to give young Victorians between the ages of 16 - 25 a chance to be heard at the highest levels of State Government, on a wide range of issues relevant to young people's lives.
The first Australian YMCA Youth Parliament was held in Brisbane in 1963. 116 young people from all States spent two weeks in preparation for, and presentation of, the 1963 Youth Parliament in the Legislative Council of the Queensland Parliament. In 1985, the State Director of the Victorian YMCA, Mr Dave Davis, put forward the idea of developing and presenting a Youth Parliament to a group of young people from around Victoria who represented their local YMCAs. Victoria's first Youth Parliament was held in the Legislative Council, Parliament House, September 1987.
The program provides young people with an opportunity to develop skills in relationship-building, team-work, public speaking and leadership, as well as to have fun. Participants take part in a nine-day residential training program which culminates in them formally debating bills in the Victorian Parliamentary chambers.
YMCA Victoria’s Youth Parliament is open to the general public and we encourage friends, families, teachers and sponsors of the 20 teams from around Victoria to come along during the sitting days to experience the high quality of debate.
For three days, the Youth Parliamentarians debate issues of importance to young people in the Legislative Assembly and Legislative Council Chambers of Parliament House, Spring Street, Melbourne.
Additionally the program commences with an official Opening Ceremony, during which the young people are welcomed into Victorian Parliament. The program concludes with the Closing Ceremony, during which the Bills that have passed through the Youth Parliament are handed to Victorian Premier for consideration. Both of these events are open for public attendance.
The Victorian Youth Parliament program is run by YMCA Victoria in conjunction with the Victorian Government. A volunteer taskforce of past participants designs and leads the program each year.