Page 1476 - Week 04 - Thursday, 26 March 2009

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number of activities and young people coming together, sharing ideas and raising issues that are of concern.

It is therefore timely and appropriate in the lead-up to this celebration of youth that I put on the record my congratulations to one of Australia’s oldest and largest youth organisations, the Young Liberal Movement of Australia. Young Liberals have a proud history of significant contribution to the Liberal Party. The genesis was within the Young Nationalists organisation, which was formed about 1929 and had as its first president Robert Gordon Menzies, who was later to become the longest serving prime minister of Australia.

In 1944, during the formation of the Liberal Party, the Young Nationalists played a significant role. In December 1945, the Young Liberals were formed. In the ACT, our local Young Liberals were formed in November 1962. During 1963, the now active ACT Young Liberals helped form the ANU Liberal Club, another body for youth in the ACT that represented and advocated for youth issues on campus.

The Young Liberals are not ashamed to stand up for the values of mainstream Australian youth. The youth of Australia do believe in individual freedom, in stable and democratic government, in economic freedom, in individual responsibility and in social and family values. These are the beliefs of the Young Liberal Movement. Through the Young Liberal Movement, the youth of Australia have a voice in Australia’s most successful post World War II political party.

At this time of Youth Week, it is worth recapping the record of Labor governments as it relates to youth. After around a year and a half in government, what has the Rudd government achieved for the youth of Australia?

A new compulsory fee at universities. I have already spoken in this place on this issue; I will simply add that, at a time of financial and economic turmoil, the single thing the Rudd government can give students is a new tax.

Where has the ACT government’s Minister for Children and Young People been on this issue? Has he been out defending the students of Canberra against the Rudd government’s proposal? No. I certainly have not heard him come in here and praise the policy either. He must be sorely embarrassed that his own party is imposing an unfair tax on young people while he is supposed to be supporting and defending those very same young people.

I am pleased that the federal coalition will vote against this unfair imposition. The Young Liberals, along with the Australian Liberal Students Federation, have campaigned against the reintroduction of this Labor tax on youth.

Of course, many Australian young people are not students. Seventy per cent of young people are not students. In the past, governments have made the mistake of treating those in trades as second-rate citizens. I am very proud that the Howard government reversed this trend and sought to restore the trades. The initiatives implemented by the Howard government include Australian technical colleges, so that by the time you finish school you can be well on the way—

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