Date Claimer: don't miss out on the most important event of the youth sector in Queensland this year. More information coming out very soon.
YANQ’s Biannual State Youth Affairs Conference
17-18 October 2016
Let’s put Youth on the Agenda this election
YANQ is proud to support Youth on the Agenda, a national campaign to put young people at the centre of the 2016 federal election. We know that you care about young people and you know young people have so much to contribute to our country. But the Australian Government currently has no way to hear from or engage with young people.
You can help fix this. Ahead of the election, join us to send a clear message to all political parties – they must pledge to:
- Appoint a Minister for Youth to engage with young people through a national youth strategy
- Commit to a national voice for young people, like the Australian Youth Affairs Coalition
- Guarantee ongoing National Youth Week funding, and celebrate all young people’s contributions to our country.
Click here to make a difference.
The inaugural Doing School Differently: National Flexible & Inclusive Education conference is coming to Melbourne, Australia 15-16 September 2016!
"...a platform for flexible and inclusive learning..."
Doing School Differently is an exciting new Australian conference for everyone who is interested in flexible and inclusive education. The conference will bring together educators, researchers, policy makers and young people who are committed to developing and sustaining successful educational opportunities and pathways for disenfranchised young people. We’re providing a platform for advancing a national conversation on practice and research in flexible and inclusive education. We hope you will join us in Melbourne on September 15th and 16th 2016 and add your voice to the conversation.
Young people aged between 14-25 who are or have been a student at a flexible learning or alternative education program, are invited to the Doing School Differently Conference as a Young Delegate. Their expert opinions, experiences and ideas need to be heard by the professionals and educators who develop and run education programs. At this conference, young people can share their views so encourage your students or former students to attend.
Find out more: www.dsd16.org.au
Woman's Right to Choose Committee inquiry process begins!
On Thursday 26 May, the Abortion Law Reform (Woman's Right to Choose) Amendment Bill 2016 was referred to the Health, Communities, Disability Services and Domestic and Family Violence Prevention Committee for detailed consideration.
Parliament has asked that the Committee "consider, report and make recommendations on" the following:
- existing practices in Queensland concerning termination of pregnancy by medical practitioners;
- existing legal principles that govern termination practices in Queensland;
- the need to modernise and clarify the law (without altering current clinical practice), to reflect current community attitudes and expectations;
- legislative and regulatory arrangements in other Australian jurisdictions including regulating terminations based on gestational periods; and
- provision of counselling and support services for women.
- Law of Abortion: overview of inquiry and full documentation - Victorian Law Reform Commission website.
Submissions are now open
With the release of the terms of reference has come an invitation to make a submission to the committee inquiry.
This is our opportunity to have a direct say in the outcomes of the bill and we strongly encourage you to make a submission.
The closing date for submissions is Thursday 30 June 2016 by 4:00pm.
In making your submission we suggest you utilise your own knowledge, experience and expertise in this area. For example, if you have worked in a sexual assault service you might include the impact of the law on victims regarding access to abortion. If you have a personal story to share, this may also be appropriate.
We also strongly encourage you to take an evidence-based approach and to include references for statistics or other statements in your submission.
Information on the law and its impact on access are available on our website at www.prochoiceqld.org.au. There is additional info on the Children by Choice website, at www.childrenbychoice.org.au.
We'd also encourage you to read the Queensland Parliament Guide to Making Submissions [pdf], but also to be aware that there is no specified format you need follow, so don't get caught up in making sure you do it 'properly'. The top points to remember are to make sure it's typed (not handwritten), includes your name and contact details (you can ask for these to be omitted if the submission is to be published on the committee website), and clearly includes your support for this bill.
The committee process and documentation (including a copy of the bill, explanatory notes, terms of reference, etc) are available on the parliamentary website: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Submissions must be received by 4pm on Thursday 30 June.
Keep an eye on our website at www.prochoiceqld.org.au in coming days for more info relating to the terms of reference, and evidence on related issues you can use in submissions to the inquiry.
We still really need you to do a couple of things to help the campaign.
Sign and share our petition
Petitions are one of the ways we can show the Parliament that there is community support for reform. It can feel like a small thing sometimes, but every petition signature counts. Sign it and share it on your social media.
(The anti-choice lobby tabled an e-petition last week with almost 24,000 signatures opposing this legislation, claiming it was the biggest parliamentary e-petition ever tabled in Queensland - not true, incidentally, as this article pointed out:
Christian lobby group fights abortion bill - Yahoo News, 25 May.)
Contact your local MP
Repeating this one because it's important. Tell them this issue matters to you and that you want them to support the repeal of Queensland’s abortion law. Check out the tips for talking to MPs on the Pro Choice Qld website and check out our facebook page for examples of emails and letters our supporters have sent to their MPs, like Michelle's:
"Dear Mr Mander,
I am writing with regard to Mr Pyne's Bill for Abortion Law Reform in Queensland.
As one of your constituents, I encourage you to support this Bill. The mere fact that we are currently operating under a law from 1899 should be enough to warrant reform, but there are far greater reasons for this law to be repealed.
Under the present system, women trying to access this essential service are not only "criminals" but also placed under incredible financial and mental stress due to the difficulties in accessing terminations. This stress level is exacerbated tenfold for women living in regional and remote areas of the state. Although Queensland Health has documented guidelines for the provision of therapeutic termination of pregnancy, these guidelines are rarely adhered to, which results in women being forced to attend highly expensive private clinics for their procedure.
It should be noted that women experiencing domestic violence are over-represented amongst those seeking an abortion and research has found that pregnancy often leads to higher levels of abuse from the perpetrators. While the current laws allow for the maintenance of a status quo that limits abortion accessibility, the most vulnerable members of our society are placed in even greater danger.
The concept of “opening floodgates” is one that is often presented by the anti-choice supporters, however, this argument is laughable in its inaccuracies. I am yet to meet the woman that would get deliberately impregnated just for the ‘pleasure’ of going through an abortion. Furthermore, regardless of the current unfortunate situation, women in need of a termination will access one, just at far greater financial and emotional costs.
Under the current laws, the main thing being prevented isn’t abortion, but its affordability, which more often results in higher gestation terminations while women try to save money for the procedure. The anti-choice lobbyist’s platform against late gestation termination supports law reform in this regard. It must also be made clear that the propaganda surrounding “9 month abortions” is entirely false with no clinics or practitioners ever considering engaging in such a practice.
I, like so many other women, want choice. Choice is a basic human right and when laws exist making criminals of those who exercise this right, it is time for change.
Mr Mander, I urge you to support the rights of women and support Mr Pyne’s Abortion Law Reform Bill.
Get in touch if you've a response from your MP you'd like to share with us.
Donate to the campaign
Most of this work is being done by volunteers with no funding so anything you can contribute helps pay for printing, online resources and advertising, and a bunch more.
Connect on social media
Follow us Facebook and Twitter to stay connected with campaign actions and events, and share our content to help get the word out.
About Pro Choice Qld
We're a grassroots group of organisations and individuals campaigning for abortion law reform in Queensland. We're spread all over the state and don't have a central office, or funding. The best way to get in touch is to email us at email@example.com, or through our website at www.prochoiceqld.org.au.
Keep an eye on our social media for news on the campaign and ways to get involved.
Mission Australia Youth Survey 2016
Mission Australia has just launched the Youth Survey 2016, the 15th annual survey by Mission Australia which gives voice to the concerns, values and thoughts of young people aged 15-19 across Australia.
We are very much hoping that you will be able to help us distribute information about the Youth Survey throughout your networks and encourage young people you know and work with to participate in this valuable research. Any assistance you can provide to promote and encourage participation in the Youth Survey would be greatly appreciated. You may also like to join in the conversation online on Facebook (www.facebook.com/MissionAust) or Twitter (@MissionAust).
As usual, we are able to offer tailored individual reports to any organisation/group who anticipate being able to collect 100 or more responses, however this must be arranged in advance so we can provide a unique code for young people to enter when completing the survey online. Please get in touch if you would like to request an individual report for your organisation.
I have attached some further information about the survey. If you can think of anyone to pass this info onto or a way to distribute it, please do so. The survey can be accessed at www.missionaustralia.com.au/youthsurvey.
At this stage the online survey will be open until Sunday 31st July 2016.
Check out the ‘The Party Room’
The Party Room is a weekly political podcast– featuring Fran Kelly and Patricia Karvelas.
It’s also available in other podcast apps as well.
Safe Schools: The Christian Right's roots in rural Queensland