The Victorian Electoral Commission (VEC) has been the major sponsor and supporter of Richmond Football Club’s Indigenous leadership centre, the Korin Gamadji Institute (KGI), since it opened in 2011.

The partnership between the KGI and VEC enables young Indigenous leaders to learn about the importance of  having a voice – by being an active member of their community and understanding the voting process.

Through the partnership, the VEC has allowed past KGI participants to enter the 30th annual Youth Parliament. The requirements of this state the team must attend a training weekend prior to their week sitting in Parliament.

On Friday, May 27 representatives from the KGI Youth Parliament team arrived at YMCA Lake Dewar Lodge in Myrniong for the Youth Parliament training weekend. They were welcomed by the Youth Parliament YMCA Taskforce.

There were many participants from all across Victoria; everyone interacted with one another and got to know each other by doing various activities such as get to know you games and team building activities.

On the second day the participants had a number of sessions about what Parliament is, how it works, the structure of the Parliament chambers and the two sides (Government and Opposition.)

They learnt about the process of how their bills would be put forward in Youth Parliament. They decided what parts of their bill each member of the team would be debating and learnt about how they needed to write their debate speeches for the week of Parliament.

Attire for the Parliament week was addressed for both male and females, outfits have to be professional, with collared shirts and blazers.

The young people participated in confidence building sessions to equip them with skills to assist with their public speaking.

Participants then had a number of practice debate sessions, where they were divided into the different chambers, having a Government and Opposition. Participants debated some of the former Youth Parliament bills and some ‘fun’ bills that they had created.

One participant from each chamber was elected to be the leader for their side of the chamber. Out of all of the chamber leaders that were selected, one was elected overall to be Parliament Youth Governor.

The next part of the day was spent amending the team bills to create the final version.

After a full day learning about Parliament and bills, participants got to have loads of fun and got into a bit of WRECK/ MESS. The theme was 80’s active wear – participants dressed in their allocated team colours and played games that got them pretty messy.

On the final day the participants continued with practice debates and amendments of the bills.

The KGI’s Youth Parliament team will be debating the bill ‘to establish mandatory Indigenous seats on all Victorian councils’ in chambers on Thursday, June 30 at 9.30am.

All debates are open to the public.