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Sunday Agenda -

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Helen Dalley: ... but first the Youth Summit. George Bernard Shaw once said, "youth is a wonderful
thing, what a crime to waste it on children". Well is it a crime to waste it on a summit? Obviously
not, if you talk to the 100 best and brightest young Australians involved in this weekend's Youth
Summit -- ten of whom will graduate to the 2020 Summit next weekend. The purpose of this summit is
to provide good ideas for the 1000 delegates to mull over next Saturday and Sunday. Co-chair of the
summit is Australia's youngest ever Government Minister Kate Ellis, the 30-year-old Minister for
Youth and Sport, and she joins us now from Canberra.

Good morning, Minister.

Kate Ellis: Good morning, great to be with you.

Helen Dalley: Now, one of the participants said yesterday that having a youth summit a week before
the big people's summit was a bit like the kid's table at a birthday party. Why not have all young
Australians as grown-up guest at the 2020 Summit next weekend?

Kate Ellis: Well, look, this is certainly a concern that we thought about when we were planning for
the Youth Summit, and we think it is really important that young people do have a strong voice at
the 2020 Summit next weekend, which is why we've built very strong lengths into next week's summit.
But what this weekend is all about is about making sure that 100 young people really get a chance
to voice their ideas and to workshop them and I think that this summit probably gives them a much
greater opportunity to see that those ideas get listened to and developed further.

Helen Dalley: Well, yesterday, you told the delegates that they bring perspectives that may have
been overlooked, that they champion ideas that may never have surfaced and that they see
possibilities where other people might see problems. Why then weren't they invited to the main
summit? Only ten of them are going.

Kate Ellis: Well that's not actually the case. There is a number of young people that will be
attending the summit next weekend, quite independently of this process...

Helen Dalley: ... but not as official delegates?

Kate Ellis: No, no, as official delegates. I ran into a student from ANU University who is
attending the summit next weekend and has got in through the same selection criteria as everybody
else. What we're doing is making sure that we've built, I guess, a second pathway for those people
that didn't make it through in with everybody else -- through to the 2020 Summit to make sure that
there is young people as representation there, and we've already seen from yesterday that they
really do have unique perspectives and very important ideas that we want to make sure make it to
the table.

Helen Dalley: Well, that's right. I understand the delegates have been asked to come up with what,
40 big ideas and then debate these in smaller groups. Have they come up with any of these ideas yet
that will passed onto the main summit? Can you give us a preview of some of them?

Kate Ellis: Well, they're working on those right now. What happened yesterday was each of the 100
delegates was asked to bring an idea with them and to then present it to the group and they
eventually narrowed them down to 40, which we now have before us and they're putting some more
flesh on those bones.

Helen Dalley: What are some of the better ones?

Kate Ellis: Well, one of the things that I thought was very insightful was they were talking about
the health system and the future of our health system in 2020 and the fact that they will be the
workers out there paying the taxes to support when the baby boomers are reaching retirement age,
are really beginning to age. So one of the ideas they've put in place is that they want to set a
target for the amount of the health budget that is actually spent on preventative health, that we
need to start working now to make sure that we lessen the burden on the health system in the future
and that we put some solid targets in place that governments have to reach to get there. I think
that's quite a good idea.

Helen Dalley: That sounds like a good idea. Is it going to go next week?

Kate Ellis: Well, that's up to the delegates themselves to work out which ten ideas are presented
in the communiqué which goes to the 2020 Summit next weekend. But I mean that is one of many good
ideas that I've just mentioned there, there's 39 other good ones. We were really impressed at some
of the amazing thinking that's going on.

Helen Dalley: Last week we discussed on this program and during the week it was discussed widely in
the community, the thousands of homeless youths in Australia with a man who runs a refuge in Sydney
and it was the subject of a powerful documentary. Now have any of the delegates come up with a
solution to this growing problem of homeless youths in Australia? Have you thought about it as
youth minister?

Kate Ellis: Well, absolutely, there's no doubt that it is one of the hugest issues on the youth
agenda, and its been interesting to see that the young people have come at it from a number of
different angles. They've been talking about early intervention and that's been a focus right
across yesterday in a whole range of portfolio areas. They were particularly keen to look at mental
health issues and making sure that we get in really early. One of the ideas was that when people
reach year eight in school they have some formal education about mental health, about early signs,
about where to get help. And we've also been talking about drug strategies and I think it's really
significant that when we talk about binge drinking amongst young people or illicit drug use that we
bring them to the table and say, what's going on within your community? Why are people doing the
things that they're doing and what can government do better to make people make different
decisions? So a lot of these underlying causes we've been talking about early intervention and
trying to keep people on the rails, keep people at home for as long as possible.

But the other thing we're very conscious of, is that someone put to me that you don't have enough
disadvantaged youth at this summit, and I can tell you there are some stories of great disadvantage
amongst these 100 delegates. But it is true that there are thousands of young homeless people who
didn't stop what they were doing and put in an application to come to the Youth 2020 Summit and
we're conscious of that, which is why we're also putting in place mechanisms where young people
don't have to come to us to put their views -- that I want to get out in the community, I want to
talk to young homeless people, to people that are accessing government programs and say, what can
we be doing better and how can the Australian Government better be serving young people and youth
homelessness is a great example of where we need to do that.

Helen Dalley: The PM is going to the Youth Summit today?

Kate Ellis: Well, at the very beginning on Friday night when the delegates first came along we
asked them what their hopes and expectations where and one of them put up on the board that they
hope that Kevin '07 would make a surprise appearance.

Helen Dalley: Right, so is he going?

Kate Ellis: Well, we haven't announced any surprise appearances but we... the Prime Minister has been
unbelievably supportive of this and of the youth portfolio of course re-establishing the position
of Youth Minister and putting in place a whole lot of initiatives and we hope that he might be able
to drop by past this afternoon.

Helen Dalley: Kate Ellis, if I may ask you to put your Sport Minister hat on now, there has been
huge controversy surrounding the Olympic Torch Relay and Prime Minister Rudd has given you the task
of meeting the Torch on April 24 while he attends the memorial in Sydney for HMAS Sydney. Are you
concerned about the protests that are likely to take place around that relay that might actually
turn violent?

Kate Ellis: Well, I certainly hope that any protests don't turn violent and I know that... I've been
talking to a large number of people that have concerns about human rights about Tibet and have said
that they'd like to put those views. We support that but we are just saying do it peacefully and I
hope that will be the case. I hope that we get the opportunity to use the Torch Relay as a focus on
the build-up to the Olympics and on our amazing athletes and the training that they're doing and to
really get some community support behind these remarkable individuals.

Helen Dalley: Well do you think there's any chance the overseas leg, including the Canberra leg of
the relay,might not go ahead despite what the IOC is saying at present?

Kate Ellis: Well, that's obviously an issue for the IOC. All the information that we've got to date
is that they're very keen for the leg to go ahead and we're supportive of that and putting
arrangements in place to make sure it happens.

Helen Dalley: Do you have some sympathy for the sentiment behind the protests or do you think there
are other ways for Australian to support the Tibetan sentiment without actually targeting the
Olympic Flame?

Kate Ellis: I mean, my own views are, I think that there's a number of avenues. We're lucky we live
in a great democracy where you can speak out; you can put your view forward. My own view is that,
and we've seen the Prime Minister doing that recently, we've certainly seen our diplomats doing
those things -- that we have processes in place where people can voice their concern, that includes
taking it to the streets if they so decide. My own view is that I hope that the Olympics will allow
us to focus on sport and on athletes and on some of those amazing role models for young people
within our community. I think that's a really important positive role that the Olympics play.

Helen Dalley: All right. Just briefly, do you think what Kevin Rudd has said openly to the Chinese
Government about his displeasure at Human Rights problems in Tibet. Should that be enough to calm
Tibetans here to not try to extinguish the Torch Flame or interrupt the relay?

Kate Ellis: Well, I think that they should certainly be assured that the government is taking up
many of their concerns and that they government is passing on these messages at the highest level.
That the Prime Minister... they've seen that the Prime Minister has taken the opportunity to do this
and I think it would be a real pity if the Olympic Torch Relay -- if the Olympic Flame was
interrupted. If you want to protest then go out and do it, but please don't interrupt the Torch
Relay and the really important part that this plays for our athletes and for the worldwide sporting
movement.

Helen Dalley: Are you worried there will be a boycott of the Olympics?

Kate Ellis: I don't think so. From the majority of the people that I've spoken to and people are
pretty clear that whatever their views are on a range of different issues that boycotts probably
aren't the most effective way of getting results.

Helen Dalley: Minister Kate Ellis, we'll leave it there, thanks very much for joining us.

Kate Ellis: Thank you very much for having me.