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Collective Voice

Our Vision for Australia's Future

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We know that young people are both passionate and capable enough to be involved in decision-making processes that affect our future. What’s more, we are uniquely placed to shape a sustainable future based on equity, fairness and opportunity.

That’s why we put out the call for young people to share their visions of Australia’s future.

The Collective Voice campaign is a chance for our voices to be heard in Canberra. Working in a partnership with a range of organisations, we’ve collected over 9,000 survey results. These included dozens of submissions from passionate young people who genuinely care about the direction of our country. Every single submission will be presented to Parliament in the coming months.

An overwhelming amount of participants told us that Australia requires a stronger response to combating climate change, alleviating poverty and addressing inequality. They said that we should be a better regional leader by helping our neighbours adapt to climate change, and that we should be playing a greater role in alleviating the humanitarian crisis in Syria and Iraq. Crucially, we should be investing more in education and opportunities for young people in our country and in our region.


Here are some of those voices.


Leadership and long-term thinking

“I believe that we need to redefine conceptions of Australia’s national interest, with more of a focus on long-term thinking. I believe it is in Australia’s national interest to demonstrate moral leadership and good global citizenship on the big moral issues of our time, like refugee policy, aid and climate change.

Instead of closing ourselves off to the world by de-prioritising climate change action, cutting our aid budget, and locking up refugees in offshore detention, Australia needs to step up."

-Skye Davey

Action on Climate Change

“The Paris Agreement was such a momentous feat. It was a wonderful thought that so many nations were coming together to think about what they could really do to combat climate change. This issue is so big that we literally need to converse with the rest of the world to find a solution. The thought that President Trump, who represents the second-largest gas emitter in the world (the US, of course), is set to pull out of the Agreement makes my blood boil (almost as much as the Earth is going to boil if he follows through). As global citizens, we cannot afford to skimp on climate change. We only have so long before this is going to take an irreversible toll on our planet.”

-Erin Arnett

Youth Engagement

“With young people making up such a large proportion of the population in the Pacific region, they have a significant stake in economic development and poverty reduction. If young people are brought to the table and given the opportunity to make meaningful decisions about economic policies and development interventions that affect them, such measures will be more targeted and effective in addressing the issues that young people face. However, if young people are not given the space to influence economic policy and development practice, this opportunity will be lost and youth disenfranchisement will increase.”

-Lachlan McPhee

Human Rights

“I would like to create more awareness of how and why in certain parts of the world basic freedom and protection that people are entitled to are violated. There is strong evidence that the legal recognition and protection of human rights is an important factor contributing to the realisation of human rights for refugees on the ground. Despite this, Australia is the only modern developed democracy not to enshrine human rights in a national law. During my volunteer role at Refugee Legal, I witnessed many helpless, yet hopeful individuals who rely on volunteer solicitors to help them with their immigration applications as they fear a
departure back to their poverty stricken, war torn countries where a sense of basic human rights is violated.”

-Sowmiya Sooriakumaran

Poverty Alleviation

“As an issue of international human rights, poverty warrants specific attention in our foreign policy. For too long, poverty has been perceived as a basic condition of humanity, despite our nation’s great wealth. The human cost of poverty is capable of alleviation, yet capable of creating a threat to national security. Weak states are in a far worse position to control their domestic affairs, including the containment of disease and protection of ecosystems. Poverty also increases an individual’s susceptibility to terrorist recruitment and involvement in transnational crime. Strong foreign policy is required to meet the problem at its source, and ameliorate the conditions which produce poverty. This should include an increase in the foreign aid budget and investment in local education sectors in vulnerable nations.”

-Justin Jones Li

Development Assistance

“The Australian government, can and must do more for aid and development, including increasing and expanding the foreign aid budget to include more state building and donations to NGO’s. This is pivotal for Australia’s national interest, and it will promote a positive Australian foreign policy and increase development and reduce poverty in developing neighbouring states, particularly the Pacific Island states where Australia is the number 1 aid contributor. And the significance will greatly enhance Australia’s role as a middle power and allow for greater relations with our neighbouring states and the international community.”

-Beau Dessmann


Want to keep reading? Check out Is Australia a Leader or a Follower?