What were young people talking about in this year's Parliament Prize?

05 August 2022

Assorted stationery and handwritten notes on coloured paper showing a brainstorming process.

Every year, the young people who enter our Parliament Prize competition talk about a really diverse variety of topics. These range from big concepts and international issues such as homelessness, poverty and global warming, to local issues such as fixing a road crossing, and everything in between.

Based on 675 entries, we've compiled some top-level categories that represent the most popular themes addressed by participants in this year's competition. They provide an interesting insight into the issues young people are thinking about and, more importantly, talking about. Click on each of the categories listed below to jump to more detail about some of the particular topics that are important to young people all over Victoria.


Animal rights - 33 entries

Pet ownership

  • Keeping cats indoors
  • Keeping dogs on lead
  • Removing the cat curfew in Knox City
  • Responsible Pet Ownership
  • Restrictions on dog park usage
  • Reducing the number of dogs in shelters
  • Finding homes for homeless pets

Animal protection

  • Shutting zoos and aquariums
  • Reducing animal abuse and cruelty
  • Increasing animal protection
  • Banning horse carriages
  • Finding humane ways of removing pests
  • Increasing animal shelters
  • Banning duck hunting
  • Stop animal testing

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Crime, justice, laws and safety - 19 entries

People safety

  • Making people safe
  • Increasing Australia's security against foreign influences
  • Police endangerment

 Cyber safety and laws

  • Reducing cyber scams
  • Banning inappropriate images
  • Cryptocurrency regulation
  • Implementing laws for the Metaverse
  • Issues of children under 13 of social media
  • Online regulations for children


  • Crime reduction
  • Reducing vandalism
  • Reducing violence on public transport
  • Stop shoplifting
  • Removing graffiti that isn't art
  • Burnouts must be stopped


  • Criminal liability for children
  • Gambling advertisements should be banned
  • Why we need a constitutionally entrenched Bill of Rights
  • Changing the definition of consent
  • Implementing federal ICAC
  • Increasing bipartisanship in law-making

Child protection

  • Human trafficking
  • Raise the age of criminal responsibility
  • Stop child abuse
  • Banning the selling of goods made by child labour
  • Creating safe public transport for children

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Education - 47 entries

Curriculum subjects and extracurricular activities

  • Including in the curriculum subjects and topics such as: consent, CPR training, environmental education, mental health, feminism, public transport safety, mythology, social and life skills, and mindfulness.
  • The lack of physical education in primary school
  • Creating more schools focused on art
  • Civic sensibilities education campaign
  • Increasing extracurricular activities available at school
  • Book swap programs

Funding and cost of education

  • The cost of private school fees
  • Increasing education funding
  • Increasing funding for arts programs
  • The cost of university, either reducing the cost or making university education free

Structure of schooling

  • Extending the timeline for VCE
  • Changing the age of when children start school
  • Longer breaks at school
  • Shortening the school day
  • Optional remote learning classes on the weekend
  • School system overhaul

Student wellbeing

  • Dogs in schools
  • Get rid of the bottom lockers
  • Awareness of students vaping in schools

Assessment and homework

  • NAPLAN should be abolished
  • Reduce the importance of a student's ATAR when being considered for a university
  • Banning homework
  • Eligibility criteria for Chinese Second Language

Teacher wellbeing and support

  • Addressing the teacher shortage
  • Increase teacher wages
  • Teacher mistreatment

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Employment, economy and cost of living - 22 entries


  • Address unemployment
  • Embracing liberalism to reduce the cost of living
  • Increasing youth employment
  • Increasing wages and rethinking the minimum wage
  • Increasing work cover and making workspaces safer
  • Addressing underpayment of employees

Cost of living

  • Reducing cost of living
  • Reducing inflation and taxes
  • Reducing petrol and gas prices
  • Reducing the cost of food, housing and medication
  • Affordable and accessible public transport
  • Removing the ZLEV user charge

Supporting businesses and the economy

  • Small business boost
  • Using Technology for economic growth
  • Protecting and supporting farmers
  • Cheaper imported cars and longer warranties for cars

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Environmental issues and climate change - 173 entries

Reducing pollution, litter and waste

  • Reducing beach, ocean, air and noise pollution
  • Reducing car pollution, such as creating idle-free zones at schools to reduce air pollution
  • Reducing waste including food waste, landfill and litter, including litter from cigarettes and plastic bottles
  • Obnoxious oil spills
  • Cleaning up after your dog

Environment and ecosystem protection

  • Deforestation and protecting national parks
  • Environmental concerns in Melbourne
  • Depletion of natural resources
  • Overpopulation of deer and the impact on the environment
  • Increasing tree canopy coverage in Geelong
  • Save the trees, waterways, oceans, lakes and rivers
  • Saving the Great Barrier Reef, including stopping coral bleaching and the crown of thorns outbreak
  • Better labelling of environmentally friendly products
  • Using cultural burning to protect the environment

Plastic pollution

  • Banning plastics, including plastic bottles, cups, straws, single-use plastic bags
  • Reducing plastic use and plastic pollution
  • Saving whales from plastic

Recycling and reducing waste

  • Creating a circular economy for the environment
  • Drink container return system in Victoria
  • Encouraging people to be Eco Warriors
  • Increasing recycling

Renewable energies

  • Increase use of electric vehicles
  • Change to nuclear energy
  • Reducing carbon emissions through solar power
  • Reducing carbon emissions through using renewable energy sources

Climate change

  • Bushfire Safety
  • Climate change and finding solutions to the impacts of climate change
  • Addressing global warming

Protecting endangered animals and animal habitats

  • Protecting animals from deforestation and reducing habitat loss
  • Create more parklands for frogs
  • protecting the Leadbeater possums, axolotls and koalas
  • Saving injured animals
  • Wildlife protection
  • Save the animals in bushfires

Sustainable practices and renewable energies

  • Sustainability in the paper industry
  • Woodside gas
  • Why people should become vegetarians and factory farms should be banned
  • Why we should ban the use of petrol cars in Australia and Increase the number of electric cars and make electric cars cheaper
  • Renewable energy
  • Reducing fossil fuels and greenhouse gases
  • Food insecurity

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Health, mental health and wellbeing - 87 entries

Health and illnesses

  • Banning cigarettes
  • Changing e-cigarette packaging laws
  • Dangers of and the need to ban vaping
  • Bringing back mask mandates
  • Dealing with Covid
  • Vaccines should not be mandatory
  • The need  for medical cannabis for epilepsy treatment
  • Violent video games must be banned

Healthcare workers health and wellbeing

  • Doctors and nurses should get paid more
  • Expanding the PBS
  • Extending mental health support beyond school
  • Healthcare worker safety
  • Supporting health care workers

Health care system and staffing

  • Improvements to the Victorian health system
  • Ambulance shortage in Victoria and using 000 calls for emergencies only
  • Reducing wait times at emergency departments
  • Increasing the number of workers in Australian healthcare, including local facilities and in rural maternity wards
  • Increasing NDIS Funding
  • Making mental health free under Medicare
  • Public funded health care and quality healthcare for all
  • Supporting hospitals
  • Better aged care and support to the elderly

Children’s health

  • Reducing childhood obesity, anxiety and stress
  • Stopping child abuse
  • Supporting children through family crises
  • Improving physical health and wellbeing in children
  • The importance of youth services for young people
  • Increasing the number of foster carers
  • The danger of drugs in high schools
  • Compulsory team sports for all children

Mental health

  • Mental health support for people under age 18 including in primary schools
  • Suicide prevention, including suicide prevention for men
  • The importance of mental health
  • Wellbeing clubs
  • Removing the stigma around therapy

Health and lifestyle

  • Making healthy food choices
  • Spending time outside to increase wellbeing and appreciating beauty
  • Reducing plastic surgery
  • 24-hour news cycle
  • 4-day work week
  • Reducing the amount of screen time for everyone
  • Reducing sugar consumption


  • Cyber bullying and safety
  • Stopping workplace bullying and abuse

  Back to the top


  • Helping the homeless
  • More homeless shelters
  • Post-pandemic poverty support
  • Addressing poverty

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Human rights, anti-racism and anti-discrimination - 85 entries

Rights for people with disabilities

  • Ableism
  • Autism awareness
  • Disability discrimination and rights
  • Disability visibility
  • Increasing funding for children with disabilities
  • Removing barriers for children with disabilities

Cultural and religious awareness and rights

  • Catering for multicultural dietary requirements at school functions
  • Implementing Empathy Day
  • Ensuring freedom of religion
  • Muslim rights
  • Respecting religions and cultures
  • Supporting multiculturalism through restaurants

LGBTQIA+ rights and support

  • More support for transgender youth
  • Addressing homophobia and transphobia
  • LGBTQIA+ rights and education

Gender equality in sport

  • AFLW gender pay gap in sport
  • Giving boys access to playing netball
  • Increasing the number of female change rooms in rural sporting facilities
  • Reducing sexism in sport
  • Representation of women in sport
  • Women’s sport media

Pay gap and representation

  • Gender pay gap
  • Women's rights and equal pay
  • Reducing sexism in Australia and in schools
  • Reducing gender stereotyping
  • Increasing the number of women in parliament
  • More diverse representation in parliament
  • No more gendered school uniform
  • Paid parental care

Women’s rights, health and safety

  • Ending domestic violence
  • Female genital mutilation
  • Free sanitary items for all Victorian female students
  • Preventing sexual misconduct in schools
  • Reducing the chance of abuse
  • Women's right to chose

Youth and voting rights

  • Lowering the voting age and allowing children to vote
  • It shouldn't be compulsory to vote
  • Increasing opportunities for children's voice and youth empowerment
  • The importance of youth volunteering in Bayside
  • Youth equality
  • Lowering the employment age to 13 Work Younger

Refugee rights

  • Permanent residency for refugees
  • Refugee rights and support
  • Treatment of asylum seekers

First Nations People’s rights

  • A fairer justice system for First Nation’s People
  • Aboriginal deaths in custody
  • The overrepresentation of First Nation’s Youth in prison
  • Supporting First Nation’s Peoples
  • Indigenous women issues
  • Respect for Country
  • Change the name of Melbourne
  • Changing Advance Australia Fair and create an All Australians Anthem
  • Australia Day
  • Indigenous culture and recognition in schools
  • Teaching Aboriginal Languages in school
  • More Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander shows on tv


  • Racism and respect
  • Racism in sport, football and soccer
  • Racism in schools and young people
  • Reducing racism and segregation

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Infrastructure and transport - 22 entries

Traffic and safety

  • Creating safer roads
  • Reducing traffic and traffic congestion
  • Safer school zones and rethinking school zone speed limits
  • Removing unsafe crossings
  • Reducing roadworks during school hours
  • Building cyclist paths to ensure student's safety when riding to school

Cyclist safety and access to bike paths

  • Increasing road safety for cyclists
  • Bike path lighting
  • Increasing the number of bike parks, mountain bike trails and tracks

Building and infrastructure

  • Builders needed
  • More buildings and trees in my suburb
  • Increasing use of public transport
  • Long term road work planning and reducing impact on local communities
  • More street lights
  • Stop demolishing buildings


  • Implementing earthquake warning systems
  • Warning system for electricity outages
  • Putting powerlines under ground

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Local issues - 35 entries

Traffic, roads and footpaths

  • Creating safer crossings on Greenvale Drive
  • Dangerous driving in the Dandenong Ranges
  • Fixing potholes and cracks on local roads
  • Fixing the paths and walkways in Echuca
  • Implementing congestion pricing for Melbourne CBD
  • Williamstown road proposal

Sporting facilities

  • Sport in Geelong
  • Building an indoor swimming pool for Nagambie
  • Indoor basketball court for the local community
  • Increasing the number of bicycle-tracks and jumps in Greenvale

Facilities and amenities

  • Reducing litter in local parks and rivers by emptying bins in local parks more often
  • Fixing the storm in the Dandenong Ranges
  • Better Wi-Fi in the Greater Shepparton Region
  • Increasing the number of public toilets in Whittlesea, community gardens in local areasand the number of local shopping centres
  • Increasing the number of local shopping centres
  • Rebuilding the Mt Dandenong Kinder
  • More plants In Boroondara
  • Rubbish in Gardiners Creek

Creating community

  • Creating more community events and festivals
  • Saving the market at Beckley Park

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  • Free sports streaming
  • More funding for sports
  • Parent behaviour at children's sports

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World issues

  • Gun laws in America
  • Fixing world hunger
  • Helping Ukrainian children
  • Supporting Ukraine and helping Ukrainians with visas

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