With the 2017 Youth Parliament camp now well and truly underway, the 59 young people had their first day in Parliament today.
After commencing the camp on Sunday with parliamentary training and recreational activities, the young people presented before parliament in an impressive and confident manner.
The Youth Mental Health De-stigmatisation Bill was one of three bills presented, along with the Indigenous Business and Economic Participation Bill 2017, and the Plastic Bag Eradication Bill 2017.
“Suicide is the leading cause of death for 16-24 year olds. This is not okay, serious action needs to be taken,” Darci Miller opened the Youth Mental Health De-stigmatisation Bill with.
The proposed bill targeted high school students at public schools, effecting a standardised resource policy whereby each school must have at least one counsellor and one psychiatrist available to students.
The opposition produced a strong counterargument, suggesting the bill catered only for the generalised body rather than the individual.
The bill was labelled as ‘hilariously weak’ and was accused of having missed its aim by focusing on addressing mental health rather than de-stigmatisation.
“A committee will not stop 8,000 young people from taking their lives,” Deputy Premier Oscar Kapsi-Crutchett remarked.
“This is a band aid legislation. Thousands are dying – does the government really believe that one committee of nine people will save all of those lives?” Oscar questioned.
In response, the Member for Kalgoorlie defended: “If we can save one life, that’s a win. The opposition has failed to acknowledge this by saying we’re ignoring the thousands dying. If we save one life, or two lives, it’s a step – a small step, but a step in the right direction.”
The bill was criticised for only targeting 65% of young people at public schools, but both parties agreed there’s an overwhelming need for the bill to start at some level.
The Mental Health De-stigmatisation bill passed 31 to 22 no votes in a confidently delivered, well-researched display from all involved.
The young people will resume in parliament on Tuesday for the Online Sexual Harassment and Cyber Security Bill 2017, the Youth Affordability and Employment Bill 2017 and the Public School Funding Redistribution Bill 2017.