Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 07 Hansard (Thursday, 24 June 2021) . . Page.. 2073 ..
appropriate for this place—and “When I said I’d rather die than go to maths class, that’s hyperbole, a-holes”.
If we are going to get in the business of encouraging kids to get involved in debates—and getting involved in political discourse is a good thing—I caution against those two factors. If we are exposing younger children to messages that might cause them anxiety, we should be cautious. Secondly, if we are exposing young people to messages which I consider offensive, we must consider that as well. I support civics education, and encouraging young people to participate in democracy, but let’s make sure that when we do that there are no unintended consequences in terms of increasing anxiety amongst particularly young people and that they are not exposed to messages many people would consider offensive. Calling on someone to burn someone’s house down seems to me not a good message to be exposing young children to or some of the language.
I am always happy to debate education, always happy to make sure that our kids are learning. But if we are going to support this sort of motion, I want members to do so with their eyes wide open and ensure that we do not cause any harm in the process. If politicians and teachers endorse a protest, it might be the kiss of death because it will not be a protest anymore, but we will wait to see if that is the case. Most protests are a little bit reliant on—
Ms Cheyne: Being radical.
MR HANSON: Thank you for your interjection, Ms Cheyne; that expresses it well. With those comments, I will leave it there.
MS DAVIDSON (Murrumbidgee—Assistant Minister for Seniors, Veterans, Families and Community Services, Minister for Disability, Minister for Justice Health and Minister for Mental Health) (4.29): I thank Mr Davis for this motion that aims to support young people in the ACT to engage in democracy and strengthen support for civics education. As the minister responsible for youth justice, I understand how important it is that young people in the ACT are well supported to understand how they can engage in action for change, and influence democracy and law-making. As Minister for Mental Health, I also have an interest in this issue through its impact on the wellbeing of our young people.
Over recent years, we have seen an increase in young people in the ACT concerned about climate change and a correlation between mental health and the environment as issues that young people believe are most important for Australia. The 2019 Mission Australia youth survey showed the top two issues facing Australia for ACT young women were the environment, at 55.7 per cent, and mental health, at 40.8 per cent. For ACT young men, the top two issues were the environment, at 55.1 per cent, and mental health, at 24.8 per cent.
The 2020 Mission Australia youth survey showed that ACT young women said the top three issues facing Australia were equity and discrimination, at 50.9 per cent, the environment, at 38.2 per cent, and mental health, at 33.8 per cent. For ACT young men, the top three issues were COVID-19, at 44.1 per cent, equity and discrimination,