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The Time To Act Is Now

Collective Voice: Our Future

By Lachie Mulcahy
Creative Communications Manager

It’s time to make our voices heard.

The movement to end poverty has just launched a campaign against the tide of fear and racism that is rearing its ugly head around the world.

At Oaktree, we are calling it “Collective Voice: Our Future.” Across the country, young people are sharing their visions for a fairer Australia. In collaboration with Campaign for Australian Aid, Oaktree is collecting these visions and will be presenting them to our leaders in Canberra at the end of February.

The Foreign Policy White Paper

‘Collective Voice: Our Future’ is in direct response to the upcoming Foreign Policy White Paper, which is currently being developed by the federal government. The White Paper will outline the direction of Australia’s foreign policy for the next decade, and will cover important issues including climate change, immigration, humanitarian aid, trade and defence.

In a welcomed example of community engagement, Foreign Minister Julie Bishop has called for public submissions from the community, asking for Australians to share their vision for the future. All submissions will be taken into account when developing the White Paper.

The Time to Act is Now.

We are living in a tumultuous time and the winds of change are getting stronger. Countries all around the world are responding to pressures of protracted conflict, mass migration, climate change and energy security. Leaders are becoming more extreme and less willing to respect international law and norms. In many cases, it seems we are taking steps backwards, not forwards.

If there were ever a time to get involved, it is now.

The Power of Young People

Young people have a unique position to change the future because we are the ones who have to live in it. We have a vested interest in what the world looks like in 30, 40, or even 50 years time.

At Oaktree, we witness the power of young people first-hand every day. We have hundreds of passionate volunteers across the country that advocate for a fairer and more equal society. We lead innovative campaigns that raise money for poverty alleviation through our partner organisations in the Asia-Pacific. We work closely with some inspiring young leaders in the region who strive to better themselves and their communities.

However, the true power of young people exists when we all stand together. As a collectivised group, we can shift government policy, influence elections and ultimately change the course of the future. We can break the status quo and force governments to listen, because at the end of the day, they need our votes come election time.

If we use our collective voice, we will be heard loud and clear in Canberra. 

What Can You Do?

The good news is, there are lots of ways you can help make a difference.

Take our survey now and let the government know what issues you care about. It’s easy and only takes a few moments, so there’s no excuse! Pester your friends and colleagues until they fill it out too.

Write a blog post to share your story and your vision for a fairer Australia, and enter it in Oaktree’s blogging competition. Every submission will be presented to parliament, and three excellent pieces will be published and shared on our social media.

Make a short video of yourself and your friend to share your ideas and make your voice heard. Sharing ideas that you are passionate about can change the way people around you see the world.

Sign up to meet your MP face to face. Oaktree will be running meetings in key electorates for young people to discuss ideas and values with our politicians. Civic engagement is a key part of a democratic society, and if we don’t communicate with our leaders, our voices will not be heard.

Have a conversation with your family. Respectfully discuss the issues and values that are important to you . Social change starts with powerful conversations that bring values to the forefront.