A high-fly­ing in­tro­duc­tion to pol­i­tics

Pilbara News - - News - Court­ney Fowler

■ Stu­dent Liam Payne, 16, looks to have a bright ca­reer in pol­i­tics ahead of him af­ter his per­for­mance turned heads at the Youth Par­lia­ment in Perth this month.

The Kar­ratha Se­nior High School stu­dent joined more than 90 youth par­lia­men­tar­i­ans in a three­day pro­gram, where stu­dents had the chance to rep­re­sent lo­cal is­sues on the Par­lia­ment floor.

As part of the pro­gram, Liam started a pe­ti­tion on Change.org call­ing for the Stage Gov­ern­ment to act on the ex­or­bi­tant prices of air travel to and from the Pil­bara.

Liam was given the op­por­tu­nity to read his pe­ti­tion to the Leg­isla­tive Assem­bly af­ter col­lect­ing more than 8000 sig­na­tures on Change.org from res­i­dents around the re­gion.

He said high avi­a­tion costs were hurt­ing fam­i­lies around the Pil­bara and their voices de­served to be heard at a State level.

“Af­ter sev­eral meet­ings with my lo­cal mem­ber Bren­dan Grylls, we hit on the idea of start­ing a pe­ti­tion on avi­a­tion costs af­ter the school paid in ex­cess of $900 for me to get to Perth to par­tic­i­pate,” he said.

“I was inspired to put the pe­ti­tion online af­ter see­ing a sim­i­lar pe­ti­tion from New­man res­i­dent Cindy Wil­liams gain close to 750 sig­na­tures in 24 hours on Change.org. I got a lot of pos­i­tive feed­back about my pe­ti­tion — I had the high­est num­ber of sig­na­tures by any stu­dent, my pe­ti­tion has been signed by 8400 peo­ple.”

Mr Payne said his ex­pe­ri­ence in Par­lia­ment had left him inspired to pur­sue a ca­reer in pol­i­tics at the end of high school.

Pil­bara MP Mr Grylls, who men­tored Liam in prepa­ra­tion for the pro­gram, praised his ini­tia­tive and po­lit­i­cal nous in Par­lia­ment.

“It has been a great ex­pe­ri­ence for him to get a bit of a feel for public life and make a dif­fer­ence for his com­mu­nity,” he said.

“I bet­ter watch out for Liam in the fu­ture, he has a bright fu­ture ahead of him.”

Mr Grylls added it would be ben­e­fi­cial to North West res­i­dents if taxpayers’ money was spent on sub­si­dis­ing avi­a­tion costs.

“The State Gov­ern­ment sub­sidises bus and train tick­ets in the South West with taxpayers’ money, but res­i­dents in the North West got noth­ing in re­turn,” he said.

“Be­fore we start talk­ing about sub­si­dies, we need to start get­ting peo­ple into a mind­set that it is ac­tu­ally a fair and eq­ui­table com­par­i­son be­tween train and air travel.”

Pic­ture: Court­ney Fowler

Kar­ratha Se­nior High School stu­dent Liam Payne, 16, with Pil­bara MP Bren­dan Grylls at the MP’s of­fice in Kar­ratha.

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