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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 4 Hansard (11 April) . . Page.. 1037 ..

  • (continuing):

  • a conflict simulator so that, instead of wars, people could use some kind of device or process, perhaps a bit like a simulation deck on the Enterprise in Star Trek, and national leaders could vent their frustration before sitting down to talk problems through;
  • ways to use money as a means of exchanging goods and services without it flowing overseas or being accumulated by the already hyper-wealthy;
  • re-uses for plastic bags; and
  • edible packaging.

About a third of the price of a grocery item, for example, is packaging. How much better would some kind of spray-on edible substance that could be washed and eaten cooked or fresh be than packing that has to be sent to landfill?

The final suggestion relates to social education, the things that people should know and that no-one should leave school until they do.

Some of the items on that list are obviously a little light-hearted, but most of them are serious. A young person's suggestion for a pocket typewriter was laughed at by electronics experts in the early 1980s. The technology had been invented, but it was thought people would not be able to handle the tiny buttons. Now electronic notebooks are commonplace, as my colleague Steve Pratt will attest. So, young people of Canberra, get to work on this challenge. My only suggestion to those interested in taking it up is to get started straightaway instead of waiting until you are thirtysomething and too busy paying off a mortgage.

Lastly, I congratulate the organisers of National Youth Week here in Canberra, the Youth Coalition of the ACT. While on that topic, I would like to acknowledge the hard work that Neil Pharaoh does on their behalf. I attended their opening last weekend, and I found it one of the best run and most entertaining events I have ever attended. Along with Mr Corbell, I was also impressed with the 2002 Young Canberra Citizen of the Year, Jonathon Lovell. I would also like to take this opportunity to congratulate all the finalists and wish them well in their future.

MS GALLAGHER (4.33): It is great to have the opportunity to speak on this matter today, and I thank Ms Dundas for bringing it to the Assembly as a matter of public importance. Two members have already spoken eloquently on this subject. I am grateful for the opportunity to raise in this discussion a pressing issue for youth in the territory and in Australia-youth wages-which potentially impacts on all youth issues.

Youth wages are one of the worst examples of age-based discrimination. They are also an outdated and divisive reflection on a society which is confronting the issues of gender, race and disability discrimination in legislation across the country. The system of wage differentiation on the basis of a vague and ill-defined category like youth, rather than approaching remuneration for work on the basis of the actual work performed, is offensive to many young people.

The debate around the societal need for youth to be segregated from mainstream wages also sounds remarkably similar to the arguments used consistently to deny women the right to equal wages and fair conditions. We were told in the 1970s that increases in pay

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