Acting Minister for Youth
The Hon. Linda Burney MP
Wednesday, 12 August 2009
Around 100 young people from NSW have gathered at Parliament House today to debate peace in politics at the inaugural Youth Peace Parliament, said Acting Minister for Youth, Linda Burney.
Minister Burney officially opened the event that was organised by the Ministry for Peace, a non-profit organisation calling on the Australian Federal Government to establish a Department of Peace.
“Today’s marks the first time that the future generation of NSW have met at Parliament House to discuss the role of peace in democracy,” said Ms Burney.
“More than 90 young people were in attendance at the Youth Peace Parliament and they represented 23 schools from around NSW, including areas such as Broken Hill, Berrigan Shire, Dubbo and Wagga Wagga.
“The young people, from grades nine to 12, became members of parliament for the day, including splitting into political parties and electing leaders.
“Prior to the event, they studied how the parliamentary process worked so they could put what they learnt at school into practice at Parliament House,” said Ms Burney.
In addition to electing a leader, the young people elected a deputy leader and a party whip. They then held party meetings to decide on bills to put forward in Parliament. The three parties were named Blue Peace, White Peace and Aqua Peace.
“The Youth Peace Parliament was a great opportunity for young people to understand how parliament works, debate issues of concern to them, and understand how laws are passed in NSW,” said Ms Burney.
Ms Burney also presented 16 young people with Ministry for Peace ‘Youth Ambassador’ certificates.
“The Ministry for Peace now has 62 official youth ambassadors. They represent the ministry, and act as official ambassadors of peace in their schools and in their communities.
“The role of youth ambassador is an important responsibility, particularly leading up to and on the day of the United Nations’ International Day of Peace, celebrated annually on September 21.”
Ministry for Peace Chair, Biannca Pace, said the Youth Peace Parliament was an opportunity for young people to review parliamentary procedures and processes.
“By being part of Youth Peace Parliament at Parliament House, young people had first-hand experience of parliamentary processes.
“They provided feedback on how parliament can improve, which we will keep and present to Prime Minister Kevin Rudd next year, after the second Youth Peace Parliament.
“In addition, I gave out two awards to young people. The first was a ‘Peace Pioneer’ award given to the most original and applicable motion put forward. The second was the ‘Advocate of Peace’ award given to a young person who demonstrated passion and commitment to peace through their public speaking and actions throughout the day,” said Ms Pace.
Ms Burney said, “Youth Peace Parliament is a great program to engage young people in the state’s political system.
“I congratulate the Ministry for Peace for organising the event, and teachers and parents for supporting the program and actively educating young people on parliamentary processes.”
About the Ministry for Peace
The Ministry for Peace is a non-profit organisation part of a global initiative calling on world governments to establish Ministries and Departments of Peace worldwide. The Ministry believes the Australian Federal Government must support the peace initiatives of the United Nations, and urges Australians to write letters and place phone calls to Canberra, local members, State Government and local government to show support for the creation of a Department of Peace.
For more information, go to www.ministryforpeace.org.au
Media contact: Phyllis Sakinofsky 9228 4455 / 0406 164 034