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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 07 Hansard (Thursday, 24 June 2021) . . Page.. 2074 ..


at 38.4 per cent, and the environment, at 33.5 per cent. In addition, one in eight ACT young people in 2020 felt negative about their future.

Noting the higher correlation for ACT young women compared to young men between mental health and the environment as top issues, I also note that more than double the proportion of young men than young women felt very positive about the future—15.3 per cent of young men compared to 7 per cent of young women.

Young people are physically demonstrating how important the environment and climate action is to their mental wellbeing, through climate strikes. Mission Australia’s youth survey report from 2019 talks about the benefits for the mental wellbeing of young people when they are able to participate in climate strikes and other events that allow them to express their views.

We are also seeing growing numbers of young people who are worried about equity and discrimination, which is why it is so important that we support young people to access their democratic rights and engage in action for change. It is inequitable to not support their participation in these critically important public conversations about how we achieve real climate action when it is young people who will have to deal with the consequences of our failure to act.

The urgency to take action on issues of importance to young people is something that plays out in my own home. The reason I am here in this place today is because of my eldest daughter. When she decided to join the ACT Greens as a young person wanting real action on climate change, I joined to support her. This week she is attending the ACT Youth Assembly at ANU. My youngest daughter is here this week doing work experience under the expert guidance of the ACT Greens spokesperson for young people, Mr Davis, and she tells me that she has found it a very interesting week. My son has been talking to me this week about his views on freedom of speech and corruption in New South Wales politics.

Young people want to engage in politics and policy issues, and it is our responsibility to support and enable that. For this reason, I am particularly supportive of Mr Davis’s advocacy for the right to vote for young people aged 16 and older, and paragraph (3)(b) of Mr Davis’s motion. Strengthening support to Elections ACT and the ACT Legislative Assembly education offices will enable more of our ACT young people to understand how our ACT democracy works and how they can best engage in action for change on the issues that are most important to them.

MR DAVIS (Brindabella) (4.33), in reply: I thank all members who have taken the time to contribute to this debate. In particular, Minister Davidson has a unique ability to combine radical love, radical kindness and an analytical data spreadsheet. I always find that combination impressive.

One of the things that I want to say in closing is that there is an acute awareness of the growing burden of mental health, anxieties and depression amongst young people. I strongly encourage members to dig deeper into that analysis and explore why that may be. I would argue that many of the anxieties and frustrations that younger people are experiencing are what is taking them to protest movements; invoking a sense of


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