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Media Release 4 – 14 July 2003

Australia’s first ever Youth Jury begun today at the Parramatta Town Hall.

The ‘Parra Youth Matters’ (PYM) Youth Jury project got off to a flying start with jurors, their families and the project team treated to speeches from the Lord Mayor of Parramatta, Clr Paul Garrard, the Federal MP for Parramatta, Ross Cameron, and the PYM project manager, Dr Lyn Carson.

The Lord Mayor and Federal Member for Parramatta, both set the scene, stressing the cultural and socio-economic diversity of Parramatta, and the importance of the Youth Jury in sparking an interest in public and community affairs.

Dr Carson provided background on the PYM project, emphasizing the role the Youth Jury is playing not only in Parramatta but also across Australia.

“The team of students conducting this youth jury will, unarguably, make a difference…are making a difference… to their world…to this community.

“It’s the first YJ to be conducted in Australia…Significantly, this is the first YJ in the world that has been designed and conducted by young people themselves—that’s appropriate and that’s pretty innovative!

“Citizens not only have a right to be involved in influencing decisions that affect them—they have a responsibility to do so,” Dr Carson said.

The Youth Jury will convene from July 14-16 and:

  • Listen to and question informed presenters;
  • Discuss and debate their views and findings;
  • Develop recommendations aimed at addressing the issues raised from the Youth Jury that encompass the needs of individuals, the community, and government.

At the final pre-Youth Jury workshop held on Sunday, July 6, the jurors discussed and debated several directions that the Youth Jury could take, before deciding to focus on the Charge:

‘The media adversely influences people’s views about different cultures affecting perceptions of Australia as a nation’.

Over the next two days, the Youth Jury will be addressed by representatives from the media and academia.

Panel Session 2: Media: Tuesday 11.30am-12.00noon

Miranda Wood, Education Writer (Sun Herald)
Liz Skelton, General Manager (Streetwize Communications)

Panel Session 3: Academics: Tuesday 2.15-2.45pm

Dr Susan Thompson, Faculty of the Built Environment (UNSW)
Dr Melissa Butcher, Research Institute for Asia and the Pacific (USYD)
Assoc Prof Wendy Bacon, Department of Writing, Journalism and Social Inquiry (UTS)