• Thomas E.S. Kelly is one of five Indigenous young people who tells us what he would do, if he was PM. (Supplied)
This National Youth Week, we chat to five inspiring young people on their deadly ideas for Australia's future.
By
Karina Marlow

12 Apr 2016 - 12:16 PM  UPDATED 15 Apr 2016 - 10:49 AM

Nayuka Gorrie - Program Manager at the Foundation for Young Australians
Gunai, Kurnai, Gunditjmara, Wiradjuri and Yorta Yorta woman, 25

If I were Prime Minister, I wouldn’t be Prime Minister because I’d be President - I would have made moves to end our constitutional monarchy structure. Before I did that though I would have begun treaty processes with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, and minimise government control over Black affairs because Blackfullas know what we need.

I would end human rights abuses against Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, and people seeking asylum. I would treat family violence with the seriousness it deserves. We have an aging population and a drastically shifting global landscape dealing with climate change, inequality and globalisation and Australia is not prepared for this. I would invest in young people so they are prepared for this future. Finally, on a more serious note, I would commission a reality TV show starring me, because I firmly believe in the giving the public what they want.

 

Taz Clay - Filmmaker, Headspace National Youth Reference Group Member
Kalkadoon and Bwgcolman brotherboy, 17

If I was PM I would retract the mental health reform implemented by MP Sussan Ley. The reform is directly going to affect a national youth mental health organisation called Headspace, which helps not only young people going through tough times but young Indigenous people too. This reform means that the importance of youth mental health is left up to the community and what the community wants. Youth mental health can not be left in the wind and tossed up between support and no support from government.

Chernee Sutton - Contemporary Indigenous artist
Kalkadoon woman, 19

I would like to see Indigenous Studies as a compulsory part of the school curriculum throughout primary and high school around Australia. I believe that this would not only create a sense of pride in Indigenous students but would also give all students a broader knowledge and acceptance of each other and Aboriginal history and culture. It would open their eyes to the beauty and uniqueness of the country we live in by providing them with knowledge that has been passed down from generation to generation.

Our youth are tomorrow's leaders and with a better understanding about each other and our culture, we would all have a brighter future.

I would also love to see Australia follow in the footsteps of countries like New Zealand and have our own dedicated Indigenous seats in Parliament. This would allow Indigenous people to have a permanent voice to address legislation and issues concerning our people, customs and land. I believe that this would help to address the many issues affecting Indigenous people in an area that is constantly misunderstood by our governments.

Thomas E.S. Kelly - Dancer and Independent Artist
Wiradjuri and Bundjalung man, 25

Let’s see, if I was Prime Minister I’d focus on the artistic landscape of our country as I believe we can strengthen and improve many areas from focusing on that topic. Artists document, create conversation - sometimes controversial, create relatable stories, explore new worlds, take people on journeys, entice emotions, provide healing, push boundaries and provide opportunities to expand one’s mind about issues they believe to be of importance.

Now I wouldn’t just create more grants and have the art scene apply, I’d work to create programs that involve communities and individuals, different programs would build strength and empowerment. By embracing and improving the artistic landscape from professional to community level, I see us creating a new, greener, smarter, tolerable, culturally aware and embraced Australian society.

 

Amrita Hepi - Dance Maker and Activator
Budjulung and Ngapuhi woman, 25

If I were PM I would immediately begin drafting a treaty between the traditional owners of this land and its colonisers. I would make it my mission to see diversity reflected in parliament: gay marriage would be legalised, the 'Safe Schools' program would be implemented immediately and lock out laws would be completely reassessed. Also I would change the date of Australia Day!

Roxanne Moore - Indigenous Rights Campaigner at Amnesty International
Noongar woman, 30

If I was PM, I would create an Australia where every child is born equal, and everyone’s human rights are protected. I would make sure that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander kids are more likely to end up in university than prison, and that our kids never have to experience racism, violence, poverty or child protection.

I want all Australians to know about invasion, colonisation and its consequences. Once we understand that our shared past is the cause of today’s problems, it’s clear that we all need to work together to heal and achieve equality. We need strong and powerful and proud Indigenous people in control of their lives to make this happen, and there’s no place for discrimination in our society.

Your Chance

We need to make sure all young people, especially our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young peoples, are heard loud and clear this federal election. The bigger their voice, the harder it is to ignore. To do this, Youth Action are running a 5-minute survey for young people on what issues are important to them in this election. Have your voice heard!