2022 Youth Parliament back in the house

The 27th sitting of YMCA South Australia Youth Parliament was highlighted by a return to the chambers of South Australian Parliament House, together with the appointment of Shania Richards as the first indigenous Youth Governor of South Australia and Speaker.

It was the largest Youth Parliament in the state for over a decade with 96 South Australians aged 15-25 from metropolitan and regional areas across the state gathering to learn about the processes of government and debate Youth Bills in the chambers of Parliament House.

Youth Governor, Shania, is based in Port Lincoln and joined the Indigenous Affairs and Reconciliation Committee in 2021, with the aim of helping her community, culture and country progress. Her background includes living in remote and regional areas of both Western Australia and South Australia, which provided her with a unique perspective on the community impact of decisions focussing on indigenous affairs.

Key issues raised and debated by this year’s young parliamentarians included:

  • Indigenous foster care reform
  • Accessibility of sanitary products in educational facilities
  • Gender affirming healthcare access
  • SA employee workers’ rights education
  • Increased foreign aid efforts

YMCA Youth Parliament Coordinator, Susan Britza, said the program provided great benefits to the young people who participated.

“It not only teaches them about the process of forming laws and making decisions, it provides them with increased confidence, a sense of responsibility and skills in debating, negotiating and teamwork,” she said.

“This year Youth Parliament was formally acknowledged within the South Australian Parliament during debates and in topics raised in Question Time and Grievance Debates at the parliamentary sitting in September. It’s extremely satisfying to be part of such an impactful program for everyone involved.”

YMCA South Australia also ran a Junior Parliament program which successfully concluded on 12 October.