The ‘My Vote My Voice’ 2019 event was held in the Legislative Council Chamber, Parliament of Victoria, on 19 August. This year’s theme was: Male and Female Youth as Future Voters, drawing on NCWV’s partnership with Australian Local Government Women’s Association, the Victorian Electoral Commission and the League of Women Voters’ Bessie Rischbieth Trust. Students were invited to make group presentations on this theme to an audience of students, community members, Parliamentarians and a panel of eminent people.
The event commenced in Queen’s Hall for welcome and photographs. We were welcomed by the Hon Gabrielle Williams, Minister for Women, Youth and Prevention of Domestic Violence. The Keynote speaker was Ms Amy Carpenter, Education Coordinator, Victorian Electoral Commission. She stated how annoyed she gets when hearing people say that young people are apathetic and not interested in what is going on beyond their world. There is passionate action occurring all around, but attitudes towards political processes is reducing.
We then had speakers from Ivanhoe Girls’ Grammar, Melbourne Girls’ College; Oberon HS; Al Siraat College; Fintona Girls’ School; Nth Geelong Sec College; Kingswood College; Westall Sec College; Genazzano College; Coburg HS and University HS. All speakers had researched peer attitudes and spoke confidently on the topic, with different perspectives taken by each school. There were personal anecdotes, passion and humour in the presentations. One common element was that there needs to be more ‘Civics and Citizenship’ content in the core curriculum. Schools also brought students as observers and some parents attended, as well as some Parliamentarians and many NCWV members and their guests.
As usual an evaluation sheet was completed by panel members (and others) as students were speaking. The panel members were Cr Coral Ross OAM, Mayor Boroondara and President of MAV; Cr Sandra Wilson, past Mayor of Hobsons Bay; Cr Trent McCarthy, Darebin Council, with Dr Deborah Towns OAM chairing. In addition to this feedback, we have audio of the event provided by the Hansard staff at the Parliament. It will be a difficult task to determine which groups will receive Awards. It was an inspiring morning.