Last week members of Crickhowell High School Council took part in the consultation on setting up a Welsh Youth Parliament, and welcomed the opportunity to share their ideas on how it should operate.
On 19 October 2016, following a unanimous vote of support from Assembly Members, the Assembly Commission agreed to explore the feasibility of establishing a Welsh Youth Parliament, and the Llywydd, Elin Jones AM, announced her personal commitment to the project. The consultation, which will run until the end of June, was developed in partnership with young people and adults from national youth organisations across Wales.
“I believe the existence of a youth parliament could promote interest in politics in young people,” said Gabriel, aged 13.
Cameron, aged 12, also saw it as something positive with potential to “help enforce the rights and views of the people who previously couldn’t vote.”
There were interesting discussions regarding the proposed age range of the youth parliament, and whether or not it should be independent from the influence of established political parties. When it came to the proposed two-year term for serving youth parliament members, Crickhowell school councillors could see both the advantages and disadvantages –
“If you have someone in the Youth Parliament who’s done a lot of good things, it would be sad to see them go,” explained Tia, aged 12.
Other things discussed by Crickhowell pupils included the practicalities of bringing youth parliament members together from all parts of Wales, and how technology could play a key role. Several felt that introducing voting booths to schools as part of the election process would make young people far more confident in using their vote once they turn 18.
All members of the school council were unanimous that the creation of a youth parliament was a very good thing and would, as Elise, aged 15 concluded, “give young people a significant voice in society.”
Further information about the youth parliament, along with access to the online survey and details of our dedicated Youth Parliament Consultation events can be found here (www.youthparliament.wales).