Since its inception in 2002, YNSW’s Youth Parliament Program has played an instrumental role in shaping public discourse and policy, with around two thousand participants and approximately half a dozen pieces of Y NSW Youth Parliament youth legislation being passed into NSW Law, including the recent Domestic Violence Disclosure Scheme.

After being nominated for the program by Ms Edwards, I applied for the Y NSW Youth Parliament for the first time earlier this year, by submitting a variety of essay-based responses as to why I wanted to be in the program and questions relating to my electorate: Rockdale. I was also required to explain which committee I wanted to be a part of and why.

I was proud to be informed that I was one of more than 100 passionate young people, from across NSW, selected for the opportunity to participate in the Y NSW’s 2021 Youth Parliament program. As the 2021 Youth MP for my electorate of Rockdale, I was chosen as a member of my favoured committee: Women’s Affairs. Since then, I have been completing weekly online modules surrounding our political system, bill writing, media coverage, advocacy, and everything in between!

Recently, I had my first virtual meeting with my fellow Women’s Affairs committee members and advisers, to start planning our bill topic submission. The three topics we have narrowed our bill down to are: consent education, infrastructure to prevent sexual assault and combatting period poverty.

In addition to online training and committee meetings, Youth Parliament consists of an eight-day camp, ahead of debate surrounding our bills on the floor of NSW Parliament. At the end of camp, all pieces of youth legislation are presented to NSW Members of Parliament for consideration.

I am incredibly excited to be a part of the Women’s Affairs committee and can’t wait to experience the opportunity to enact tangible change, specifically in the area of gender equality. It is empowering to know that my voice will be heard from one of the largest platforms for youth in NSW. I am looking forward to hearing the perspectives of other participants from around NSW and can’t wait to get to work!

Grace Ryan – Year 10