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Wednesday, 9 May 2018
Page: 3439

Ms OWENS (Parramatta) (13:29): During Youth Week I committed to presenting in the federal parliament speeches by young people in my electorate. There are 4.2 million amazing young people between the ages of 12 and 25 in our country. Narayan is just one. He's a 20-year-old student who came to Australia when he was 12 years old as a refugee from a Bhutanese refugee camp in Nepal, and these are his words: 'Often, we as young people hear our leaders refer to us as the future of Australia. If we are indeed the future, our leaders must stop seeing us in a tokenistic way. If we want to see a better Australian future, young people need to be included in everyday decision-making. Young people need to be heard and considered more seriously. It is incredibly difficult not to be passionate about changing the media culture when young people from diverse backgrounds are portrayed with negative stereotyping every day. It is incredibly difficult not to be passionate about mental health when one in four young Australians experience mental health issues. Who do we, the 4.2 million young people in Australia, share our concerns with? As a youth advocate in both multiculturalism and mental health, I want to be able to share my concerns and thoughts with someone who has the power to make the change. This is why young people in Australia want a minister for youth who is willing to include us in everyday decision-making. After all, it is the experience that we gain today from our involvement in decision-making processes that will help us learn and make better decisions, assisting us to become stronger leaders of tomorrow.' That is well said, Narayan.