Youth Parliament

The Hon. K.L. VINCENT: I will speak briefly in support of this motion this evening as I am aware that, in the dying days of this parliament, which is about to be prorogued, we have a lot of business to get through.

The Hon. T.J. Stephens: Wise woman; thank you.

The Hon. K.L. VINCENT: I would like to put on the record that the Hon. Mr Stephens, very out of order, just interjected, ‘Wise woman, wise woman.’

The Hon. T.J. Stephens interjecting:

The PRESIDENT: Order! The Hon. Ms Vincent.

The Hon. K.L. VINCENT: I’m sorry, Mr President, that was my fault. I took the bait, and I admit that. I would like, as briefly as I am able, to congratulate wholeheartedly the participants and task force of this year’s Youth Parliament on all their efforts and their achievements. As the youngest woman to have been appointed to an Australian parliament, the engagement of young people in the democratic process is a matter very close to my heart for obvious reasons.

Dignity for Disability, during this session, introduced legislation and next year will reintroduce legislation, following the prorogation, that would see many of the young people involved in the program able to vote, should they choose to do so, from the age of 16. Given some of the achievements that have been listed by other members speaking to this motion, I think that it just goes to show that the future is in good hands and that we can trust our young generations to do that, to cast their vote, and there are many young people out there waiting to do just that as the next step in their democratic journey.

As the program enters its 20th year in 2015, it is interesting to reflect on the contribution the program has made to this place as a source of ideas, connections with young people and, indeed, as the Hon. Ms Franks highlighted in her speech, it has also been a good source of staff for many of us. A number of members here and in the other place are previous Youth Parliament participants, as has been pointed out, or they have previous participants or task force members on their staff.

My own staff includes the former premier of Youth Parliament from the 2004 program, David Gustafsson, who then retired to undertake a career as a professional Ned Kelly impersonator and staff member to myself. For those who have missed that, that was a reference to the beard that makes him stand out a bit in this place. I am also aware that the Hon. Mr Wade has had in his office—

The Hon. T.J. Stephens: He has no beard.

The Hon. K.L. VINCENT: He has no beard. I don’t know what to say to that. It’s just a factual observation that he has no beard, not that we think any less of him for that. I don’t have a beard! The Hon. Mr Wade’s office has long been served very well by the services of another participant of the Youth Parliament of that same year, 2004, Mr Sandy Biar, who has recently left this place to go onto even more exciting things. I am sure that I speak for all of us when I say that I wish him well on what is ahead of him.

As I said earlier, I am conscious of the time and also conscious that I am getting a bit tired and making strange references to beards. I again congratulate all those who have worked hard on putting this year’s program together and making it the success that it has been. I look forward to the next 20 years with great anticipation and look forward to continuing to support the program throughout that time.