A bill tackling racial discrimination will be presented by a group of Shepparton-based students at the YMCA Victorian Youth Parliament next month.
The group of students from Years 10 and 11 recently took up the chance to participate in the annual program for Victorians aged between 16 and 25 years.
According to the YCMA Youth Parliament website, 20 teams of six participants received training in public speaking and leadership at residential camps while researching issues they’re passionate about.
‘‘From this research they develop a bill, which they debate in Victorian Parliament over three days each July,’’ the website read.
Group spokesperson Hanifa Haidary said it had been fortunate to be sponsored by the Department of Education to present its bill during the first week in July.
‘‘Our bill is on racial discrimination,’’ she said.
‘‘We have all experienced it at some point or have seen it or have experienced it happening to our families, so we thought let’s make this something that we can try and change.’’
Ms Haidary said the group believed the solution was in education.
‘‘We want to tell them why it’s happening and what we can do to prevent it, so we decided the form of punishment should be to participate in community work that has something to do with an ethnic culture so they can learn about these different cultures,’’ she said.
The group met with Federal Member for Murray Damian Drum last week and learnt techniques to improve its presentation to parliament.
‘‘It’s a great experience for the kids to move into parliament and sit in the chamber and debate a bill,’’ he said.
‘‘They’ll be arguing for the bill against other schools, which can be quite nerve-wracking.’’
Mr Drum said the bill being presented by the students was pertinent to Australians.
‘‘It’s very much a real issue at the moment,’’ he said.
The group consists of Ms Haidary, Busra Kava, Seyma Topal, Nargis Sadiq and Mustafa Abbasi.
Ms Haidary thanked their teachers who volunteered to transport the group to the training camp in May and to present the bill next month.