Enabling change in our Society, Environment and Economy (SEE)

Parliament of Youth

Parliament of Youth on Sustainability - simple smaller 8cm cmyk


Term 4 PD opportunities for teachers

We are now planning for Parliament of Youth teacher professional development sessions in term 4 to be held from 4.15-6.15pm on Tuesday 25 October and Wednesday 26 October at the Hedley Beare Centre for Teaching and Learning. This flyer provides further information.

We need your help! One of the best parts of these two hour sessions is when teachers share their experience of taking part in the Parliament. We’re looking for 4-6 previous Parliament participants to do just that in short and informal presentations (5 minutes or less) in either of the sessions, answering questions like:

  • How did you work the Parliament of Youth into your teaching program? (eg subject area or topic; teaching sequence)
  • Did you work with a class or a separate group (such as a sustainability group)?
  • How did you organise the students? Did they work as a group or individually?
  • How did your students work their research into green papers (or one-page papers)?
  • How did you select students to represent the class?
  • How did your students deliver their 5 minute presentation at the Parliament?

This is a great opportunity to share your ideas, network with other teachers as well as receive two hours TQI credit. Oh, and there’s afternoon tea too!

Please contact Donella at parliament@see-change.org.au if you can help or would like to register.

 Climate campaign opportunities for high school and senior students

If you are a high school and senior student who is passionate about sustainability, finding solutions and tackling climate change consider joining your school up to become a  Switched on School  through the Australian Youth Climate Coalition’s Repower our Schools campaign. Have a look at this inspiring video for more information on how to become a climate change campaign leader.

Students speak out on Canberra’s ecological footprint

Watch the Parliament of Youth on Sustainability vox pops video (6:30) to find out more about the Parliament and some of the proposals for action to reduce Canberra’s ecological footprint presented by the student parliamentarians on 30 May 2016.


Thanks to our student camera people, photographers and interviewers: Jonah Lafferty (Canberra College), Sam Ferguson (St Mary MacKillop College), Ewen Kennedy (Wanniassa School), Emy Obinna (Canberra College), Laura Johnston (Canberra Girls Grammar School and FM89.5 Voice of the Valley) and Katie Tabke (Trinity Christian School).

Student Ministers present White Paper to MLAs

The ACT Legislative Assembly could seriously consider some of the student proposals to reduce Canberra’s ecological footprint that came out of the 2016 Parliament of Youth on Sustainability. That’s what student Ministers found out on Wednesday 15 June when they presented the Parliament White Paper and the final six proposals from this year’s Parliament to the ACT Legislative Assembly Standing Committee on Planning, Environment and Territory and Municipal Services.


Final six proposals:

  • sensor taps in all ACT public places
  • vending machine rubbish bins
  • more wind turbines
  • street light timing changes
  • public bikes, and
  • banning ’boutique’ plastic bags

MLAs Joy Burch (Committee Chair), Andrew Wall and Alistair Coe (committee members) (pictured with the students) considered each proposal, asking the students how the ideas might be implemented, raising issues, comparing them to current Government programs, and suggesting possible improvements.

The MLAs were enthusiastic about the idea of street light sensors and could see the health and ecological footprint benefits of a public bike system. They suggested the possibility of providing rebates for installing sensor taps in every new home; thinking about handling different types of recycling for the vending bins proposal; taking into account information about prevailing winds in the ACT region when planning the placement of wind turbines; and, as well as introducing a levy on ‘Boutique Bags’, making them biodegradable.

Student Ministers for the other proposals in the final 16 from the Parliament were also able to outline their ideas with each sparking discussion about what is already happening around Canberra or in other Australian states, and how we could build on those activities.

Congratulations to the student Ministers for their excellent preparation for the meeting and their ability to express their ideas and answer questions clearly. Great effort!

Thanks also to Lillian Rowland, year 12 student from Canberra College, who gave up her time to meet with Joy for a briefing session the day before the meeting and for attending the meeting as a support person. And a big thank you to Joy, Andrew and Alistair for taking part in such an enjoyable and informative committee session.


Students take proposals to politicians at Parliament of Youth

Congratulations to everyone who took part in the 2016 Parliament of Youth on Sustainability on Monday, 30 May 2016. 293 students and 66 proposals made for a busy day!

Listen to June Fang from Garran Primary School explaining her team’s proposal as presented at the Parliament; and watch Nathan Farme from Trinity Christian School on the WIN TV news segment.


Parliament of Youth on Sustainability 2016 – Final 16 proposals  – Check out the final six proposals voted in by the full Parliament of 293 students, as well as the other proposals that made it through the committee sessions to the full Parliament. The final six include:

  • sensor taps in all ACT public places
  • vending machine rubbish bins
  • more wind turbines
  • street light timing changes
  • public bikes, and
  • banning ’boutique’ plastic bags.

Simon Corbell addresses full Parliament - webFull Parliament crowd - cropped - web


Need more information?

Read on below or contact: Project Officer, Donella Johnston – P: 0431 360 181; E: parliament@see-change.org.au or keep reading.


WHAT: The Parliament of Youth on Sustainability is the chance for ACT students from kindergarten to year 12 to have their say about how we should reduce Canberra’s ecological footprint and make Canberra a more sustainable city. Each school may enter up to three teams in each of the year group categories: K-Y3 (6 team members), Y4-Y6 (6 team members), Y7-Y9 (3 team members) and Y10-Y12 (2 team members). Each team should prepare a one-page Green Paper outlining their proposal for action (due 5 May 2016) and a 5 minute presentation about their proposal for delivery at the Parliament.

WHEN: The Parliament of Youth on Sustainability is set to run on Monday, 29 May 2017 (week 5, term 2) at the Australian National University.
TOPIC: What is one action we should take to reduce Canberra’s ecological footprint?

REGISTER: Registrations are due on 5 May 2017. You can download a registration form here.
WATCH: The 2017 Parliament of Youth on Sustainability video (1:38) below for a quick run-down on what the Parliament is all about.

TEACHING RESOURCES: Go to the teaching resources page which includes a 4 step teaching sequence.
EXPERT PRESENTERS AVAILABLE: We have a list of expert volunteers happy to come to your class to present on the ecological footprint, sustainability, renewable energy, and more. Click for the presenter list and contact Donella Johnston at parliament@see-change.org.au or on 0431 360 181 to book a speaker.

SCHOOL PERMISSION NOTES, INCLUDING MEDIA PERMISSION: All students attending the Parliament of Youth on Sustainability will need parent/carer permission for photographs and video to be taken of them on the day. Here’s information you may want to use for your school permission notes.
TEAM MEMBER NAMES: Names of the students in each Parliament team are due on Friday, 5 May 2017 (end of week 2, term 2). Please use the team member registration form.

PROJECT UPDATES: Parliament of Youth Newsletter


Click here for the 2017 Project Information Booklet. Follow this link to the teaching resources page.

In a nutshell: What do participating schools/students do?

1. Study the concepts of the ecological footprint and sustainability. Click here for some useful resources.

2. Study one aspect of human lifestyle and how it relates to Canberra’s ecological footprint. Click here for suggested focus topics.

Student Parliamentarians working on postcards to politicians at the 2015 Parliament

Student Parliamentarians working on postcards to politicians at the 2015 Parliament

3. Develop a proposal for action to reduce Canberra’s footprint.

4. Each Parliament team outlines what they’ve learnt and sells their single proposal for action in a one-page Parliament paper (Green Paper) (due 5 May 2017 – end of week 2, term 2). (One Green Paper per Parliament team. Click here for the Green Paper Template and instructions.)

5. Each Parliament team prepares a 5 minute presentation, based on their Green Paper.

6. Each Parliament team chooses one student to act as their Minister if their proposal is chosen as one of the best at the Parliament. Ministers prepare a one minute summary speech outlining and selling their proposal in case they need to present this at the Parliament.

7. At the Parliament in term 2, 2017, school teams meet in year group committees with other schools and as a full Parliament to deliver their presentations and vote on the best proposals to take forward to Canberra’s politicians.


Parliament of Youth on Sustainability 2016 – Final 16 proposals (error on p2)
2015 student Ministers meet with MLAs
2015 Parliament of Youth on Sustainability
2013 Parliament of Youth on Sustainability

THANK YOU to our supporters

The 2016 Parliament of Youth on Sustainability project was supported by grant funding from:

ACT Government Education and Training Directorate


Association of Independent Schools of the ACT


Catholic Education Office (Archdiocese of Canberra and Goulburn)


ACT Government Environment and Planning Directorate

ACT Commissioner for Sustainability and the Environment


Venue support is provided by the Australian National University


With thanks to our


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