Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 07 Hansard (Thursday, 24 June 2021) . . Page.. 2071 ..
strong civics education ensures that our youth know where their vote goes. It allows them to know their rights. It allows them to exercise those rights to the fullest. It allows them to be heard not just by me, as a representative for Yerrabi, but by all of us in this place whose duty it is to represent them.
We want to encourage more active participation by young people to make our democracy richer. This motion is a step forward in getting Canberra’s youth involved and ready to participate in our democracy. To encourage our youth to participate in democracy, we need to ensure that it complements their schooling. This motion will give the opportunity for young people to partake in protests while being supported to complete missed work and assessments. With this support, more of our students will be able to practise their right to protest with the support required.
As Mr Davis mentioned, one-quarter of voting citizens are unengaged in democracy. By strengthening civics education, I believe we can reduce that number. We can empower young people to be involved in politics, make informed decisions and understand the importance of voting. These actions will create a better and stronger democracy. These young people will soon be adults. They are our future, and the more we empower them to participate in politics, the more vibrant and healthy our democracy will be. A large, strong and diverse democracy is what we need to ensure that the next generation has a say in the world they will inherit.
To close, I will quote Nikos, an intelligent young man working in my office who, incidentally, wrote this speech. He has a keen interest in civics education and said:
By not improving civics education we are blocking out a possible generation. Opposing this motion will make it harder for younger generations to be involved. This will harm politics in the future, we will be in the same spiral of having people not engaged with democracy and not understanding where their vote goes.
MR HANSON (Murrumbidgee) (4.20): As I said yesterday, I am always happy to engage in a conversation about education.
Ms Cheyne interjecting—
MR HANSON: The interjections start already! Let me get beyond a couple of minutes. I am delighted to talk about this; the Canberra Liberals are big fans of civics education and big fans of getting younger people engaged in these debates. I have two sons who both have active minds and we have regular conversations at home about political issues of the day. It is fair to say that they do not always agree with me, and it is very important that they get their information not just from Dad but from a broad range of sources both at school and elsewhere. It is always a bit of a challenge to make sure that they are accessing information, and I think it is good if young people are engaged in the debates of the day.
I will make a couple of comments, and I need to make sure that Mr Davis does not mischaracterise what I say; I think he did a bit of that yesterday, in my view. There are some issues with encouraging and endorsing children to get involved in political activities that we need to be cautious about, and I will raise those here. This is not a