Speeches Chris has made in the Australian Federal Parliament.

Statements by Members - Youth Voice in Parliament Week

October 19, 2021

Mr HAYES (Fowler—Chief Opposition Whip) (13:36): Helen is a 16-year-old young woman living in my electorate. Tragically, she is living with a disability. She is also part of the Youth Voice in Parliament campaign, and she has shared with me her hopes for what Australia will look like in 20 years. Helen says:

Today there are very limited options when it comes to education in Australia for disabled, neurodiverse, mentally ill, and chronically ill children. The best option at the moment is schools like Sydney Distance Education High School, where students complete their work online and can attend learning hubs 1-2 days a week. We attend this school because we can't attend a traditional school and often spend a lot of time at home, but we still want to go to school and interact with our classmates and teacher as often as we can.

I am hoping that these schools will receive a lot more funding to truly meet the needs of students and that there will be more schools with learning hubs all over Sydney, so students can attend the same hub daily and build friendships. I hope these changes can be made so that future students can receive a good education without having to be isolated. Students like us need access to schools where we can thrive and do well.

Thank you, Helen, for raising your voice in this parliament on such a critical issue. We should be doing everything we can to support disabled people.