Title Select Committee on Strengthening Multiculturalism
Protecting and strengthening Australia's multiculturalism and social inclusion
Database Senate Committees
Date 27-06-2017
Source Senate
Parl No. 45
Committee Name Select Committee on Strengthening Multiculturalism
Page 25
Questioner CHAIR
Duniam, Sen Jonathon
Dodson, Sen Patrick
Responder Mr Mahendren
Ms Liddy
Ms Guerra
Ms Po
Mr Pratama
Ms Lu
Ms Safa
System Id committees/commsen/5728be38-f441-4266-8340-012a083a260d/0004

Select Committee on Strengthening Multiculturalism - 27/06/2017 - Protecting and strengthening Australia's multiculturalism and social inclusion

GUERRA, Ms Carmel, Chief Executive Officer, Centre for Multicultural Youth

LIDDY, Ms Nadine, National Coordinator, Multicultural Youth Advocacy Network

LU, Ms Cam, Private capacity

MAHENDREN, Mr Senthuren, Director, C8 Journey

PO, Ms Maximus, Private capacity

PRATAMA, Mr Bayu, Private capacity

SAFA, Ms Shabnam, Private capacity


CHAIR: Welcome. I invite you to make opening statements, which I will ask you to keep very brief, as that gives us the opportunity to ask more questions.

Mr Mahendren : Firstly, thank you for the opportunity to make a submission. We are a small, grassroots not-for-profit group. Through our mentoring program we had the opportunity to work closely with young people from migrant, asylum seeker and refugee backgrounds. In addition, the majority of our members are from migrant backgrounds, and we come here bringing that collective experience.

In our written submission we made two main points. The first one was the need for a systematic in-depth cultural training program, and the second one was about strengthening national policy. There is already a pretty comprehensive report out there on cross-cultural training, so we would like to give our views on the national policy based on some experiences we see at the grassroots level.

To get to the crux of it, in our view, in Australian society and probably most global societies around the world, and to varying degrees depending on the individuals, there is a notion of them and us which exists subconsciously within each community. From the perspective of mainstream Australia, 'them' is often the newly arrived migrant community and the 'us' is everyone else. The constituents of the 'them' and the 'us' are almost evolving as new communities become established in the fabric of Australia and new arrivals become the new 'them'.

In our view, to truly protect and strengthen Australia's multiculturalism and social inclusivity, we need to ensure that this national policy effectively results in mitigating that subconscious 'them and us'. It is not to say that Australia's policies are not effective—there are some great initiatives—but, effectively, the way see it, those policies operate to bring 'them' closer to 'us' and then protect 'their' rights. When we have a look at it, the one gap is policy to bring 'us' closer to 'them'. The policies that we have in place at the moment are predicated on having a tolerant Australian multicultural society, and I think that has been in policies for a while. But, to take the next step, a policy that just fosters mere tolerance is probably not enough, so we probably have to make the movement to having acceptance, understanding, inclusivity and embracing the differences—and that is bringing 'us' closer to 'them.

There is one story that I want to share to kind of put all of this in context from my experience. We had a member enrolled in an employment pathways program. One day she attended a workshop and the topic was on being open and frank with prospective employers. The participants were generally around 20 to 30 years of age, male and female, and typically of migrant backgrounds. One of the participants who was of African background raised his hand to share his story. He told the group that he had been repeatedly sending our applications and he had been rejected each time. On that resume he had his African name. One day he decided to change that name to an Anglicised version and soon after he got an interview. It was his belief that that non-Anglicised name could have been the issue and that he was being discriminated against because of that. On sharing his story, there was a general consensus amongst the room that they had all faced similar issues. I cannot speculate whether or not they were discriminated against, but the fact that they hold that belief is a serious issue that we need to address.

Changing the policies from bringing 'them' closer to 'us' to 'us' closer to 'them' will help. These policies include—and this was touched on in the previous submission—increasing interfaith and intercultural dialogues, and encouraging that sort of communication; the cross-cultural training that we put forward in our written submission; and having a greater emphasis on self-promotion and marketing to all Australians regardless of background and about the values of multiculturalism and the importance of accepting and understanding one another.

CHAIR: Thank you very much. We will now go to Ms Liddy.

Ms Liddy : Thank you for the opportunity to appear at today's hearing. The Multicultural Youth Advocacy Network, MYAN, is Australia's national body on multicultural youth. We represent young people from refugee and migrant backgrounds and those who work with them. More than 25 per cent of Australia's youth population is from a culturally and linguistically diverse background. That is over a quarter. Our work promotes the rights and interests of young people from refugee and migrant backgrounds. They face particular barriers to active participation in Australian society—sometimes more complex than their Australian born counterparts.

We are based in Victoria at the Centre for Multicultural Youth, and Carmel Guerra is MYAN's chair. We have partners in every state and territory, and our work supports a nationally consistent and coherent approach to supporting young people from refugee and migrant backgrounds to be active participants in and contributors to Australian society. Part of our work is supporting the development of organisations like CMY in Victoria and Multicultural Youth South Australia and multicultural youth specialist organisations in the other states and territories. These organisations and structures ensure that young people are supported to be self advocates and can access the opportunities they need to thrive in Australia. Through our work over the last five years we now have similar structures in New South Wales, Queensland, Tasmania and WA. We also run national youth events and support a national youth ambassadors network.

I would like to highlight a number of key points in relation to the inquiry's terms of reference. Firstly, Australia has a strong history of promoting and celebrating cultural diversity, with well-established policy and legislative frameworks to support social cohesion and a successful culturally diverse multicultural community, and the young people across Australia in our networks are testament to that. This is in large part because of Australia's public policy of multiculturalism, which, of course, has received bipartisan support for many, many years, although we have seen some decline in commitment to multiculturalism as a public policy in recent years. So we were very pleased to see and we commend the government for its recently released multicultural statement, Multicultural Australia: united, strong and successful. \

This reinforces the success of Australia as a multicultural nation, promotes the principle of mutual respect and denounces racial hatred and discrimination as incompatible with Australian society. The statement reinforces multiculturalism as a central tenet of Australian national identity and a valuable asset to the country, particularly in an era of globalisation. The fundamental principle articulated through the statement is the recognition of cultural diversity as one of Australia's greatest strengths. However, we would like to see a commitment to its implementation, including adequate resourcing and investment in laws, policies and programs.

In relation to Australia's settlement services system, Australia has distinguished itself as a world leader in settlement. This is partly through the investment in youth approaches in settlement services and the structures that support this, including the MYAN. Having engaged in the international integration and settlement context, I can attest that no other country recognises the particular needs of young people in settlement in the same way, and globally there is no organisation equivalent to the MYAN or some of its partner organisations, like CMY. Australia is leading the way in this regard and should continue to do so. However, improvements could strengthen and better coordinate this investment. We have written at length in our submission to the joint standing committee inquiry into migrant settlement outcomes on this, and there is a list of recommendations.

There are a couple that I want to highlight. The first is the importance of improving outcomes measurements and building a stronger evidence base. The MYAN has developed the National Youth Settlement Framework to support this. We need better data collection and accountability measurements at all levels of government and also in the not-for-profit sector that implements settlement services. We also need a national youth settlement strategy to guide a more strategic and targeted approach to supporting young people in settling in Australia. This would also provide better coordination and build on the investment that currently exists.

Lastly, in relation to multiculturalism and young people's experiences of racism and discrimination, I want to highlight that young people are navigating a critical developmental stage where they are negotiating identity and their place in the world—their place and interdependence within their family, community and the broader Australian society. For young people from refugee and migrant backgrounds, identity formation is influenced by a sense of belonging in terms of nationality and, significantly, government policy agendas around multiculturalism and social cohesion, cultural identity and family and by the response from the broader society to them and their community. All levels of government need to ensure strong leadership to support rather than undermine social cohesion and the core values of multiculturalism. This is critical for young people. This requires conscientious leadership from government, the media, the community and civil society, and it is critical for a strong, socially cohesive and successful multicultural Australia where all young people feel they belong and can be active participants in and contributors to Australian society.

CHAIR: Thank you very much. I will go to Ms Guerra for your opening statement.

Ms Guerra : Thank you. The approach we would like to take now is that Nadine, I think, has provided some contextual policy framework, so we are going to take you into what it looks like in Victoria and what are some of the reasons why we think multiculturalism has worked, notwithstanding that we acknowledge there are challenges. I would like to give voice to some young people through our programs to give you examples of what the challenges are but maybe also what some of the success are.

CHAIR: Lovely.

Ms Guerra : I might just start with a couple of comments that contextualise that for some of the young people. One is just to reinforce what we have heard from Nadine, both as chair of the national network and having just returned from Geneva and London: we must not underestimate the infrastructure, the policy and the programs we have in Australia. They are international best practice, and the world is now looking to us. We need to state that up-front. I think it is really important to acknowledge that but, of course, also acknowledge that we are in a reality where we need to start looking at how to improve things that are probably somewhat out of date.

Secondly, those kinds of challenges probably require us more than ever to look at the intersection between disadvantage settlement and integration of new groups into civil society. We have to continue to look at a bipartisan approach. That has been crucial. The legislative framework is important, and we might talk at the end about the VMC model as a good starting point. You heard about that before. Senator Di Natale, I think you were saying that would be useful to talk about.

What I might refer to very quickly, before handing over to the young people, is some examples of the strong investment from government, I think, particularly in Victoria, which has probably led to the success story, notwithstanding that, yes, there are some challenges. But I think fundamentally we know it has been a success, and that is because of organisations like CMY, which have received bipartisan support and resourcing for over 25 years. We are going to hear from four young people about the kinds of programs they have been involved in, which I think are about multiculturalism being nurtured in this country and not assuming it has happened by accident. It is because there has been investment at a policy, social policy and program level. So we are going to hear about a youth advisory group model; about our Shout Out speakers bureau model, which is about the voices of young people going to places and speaking to people where they do not meet culturally diverse young people; about our Settle Smart mentoring program, where refugees and migrants who have been here before go and talk to new young people; and also about using sport as a tool for social cohesion.

I will hand over to the four of them to speak to you. I think you are going to go first, Ms Po, aren't you?

Ms Po : Yes, I am. Thank you for creating this platform for me to speak on. I am 27 years old. I identify as a Zimbabwean, Shona tribe, and I am about to study education support. I am a sole parent to an 11-month-old, and I have been involved with CMY since 2014, when I went through their Shout Out program, which is a leadership and mentoring program. Prior that, I was just a media artist; I was a choreographer. But the program really helped me knuckle down, find my voice, step up and say, 'Yes, I'm a leader in my community, and that's okay, and I'm going to do what I need to do.'

In my Shout Out involvement, I really enjoyed the aspect of speaking to year 8s and to year 12s that go to private schools or Catholic schools—people that ordinarily 'would not meet' a refugee person or would not interact with a refugee person. Given that I look the way that I do—I look like any Australian child—it is very exciting for me to have these conversations with these children.

I feel, though, that multiculturalism has been undermined because, when I have these discussions with these children, they have an idea of who I am because the media has painted refugees and migrants with a single story, and there has not been an opportunity for refugees and migrants to actually be funded and supported and to integrate their cultural identity with Australian culture. Because that has not happened, there has been this breakdown.

Fortunately, there are organisations like CMY that give us the power, the voice and the platform to immerse ourselves in the problem and get into the solution. I figured out that multicultural support people would be really good to help in the first line of defence with the police. There are a lot of instances that are happening with multicultural children and refugee children and there is a big break between the media and the police. If there were a multicultural support worker, that could be someone who could speak to the person with a migrant background and go between them, the police and the media to cultivate them integrating in Australian society.

There is the model that has been used in the Northern Territory with the Aboriginal community. I saw a program on NITV where they had an Aboriginal support worker and a policeman out in the streets on the beat, working with Aboriginals on the street and finding out what is going on. That sort of model has worked. It is successful and it is culturally appropriate, and that is the sort of model that I am thinking of and would like to see, starting with the police department and then on the social spectrum—engaging with work and community and things along those lines.

CHAIR: Thank you very much. We have very limited time. I am really concerned about the time. Having sought guidance, we will restrict our questions. We will have to be very brief, if that is okay. Did you want to proceed in a particular order?

Mr Pratama : Yes, please. Good morning, committee. Thank you for coming and giving us the opportunity to talk about multiculturalism. I came to Australia five years ago. I am currently working as a food and beverage attendant. Prior to that I had intensive experience in sports. I was previously enrolled as a sports officer. One thing I want to talk about is sport. Sport is a very universal language. In fact, it plays a vital role in community. On sports participation and young adults aged 18 to 24, currently 68 per cent out of 17 million Australians say physical health and fitness are the main reasons and the main motives that drive them to participated in sports. Furthermore, with my experience over five years, I would like to highlight that sports have influenced and resulted in positive outcomes as multiculturalism and community play a vital role. Having said that, I have experience of representing at a high level—international cup—through a community, obviously. I have played the role of assisting young people , as well as migrants and refugees, in the wider community. I have seen myself how sports impact on migrants and young refugees positively to integrate into Australian society. However, sports do have a negative influence, gradually elevated over a period of three years.

Ms Lu : Thank you again for the opportunity to speak today. I am 22 years old and I migrated to Australia from Vietnam when I was eight. I have been living here for 14 years and I am currently in my final year of bachelor of teaching, outreach and community education. I am part of the CMY Settle Smart program, which Carmel mentioned earlier. It is a program where people like myself, who have had the experience of migration or have been a refugee, come to schools and deliver workshops for newly arrived young people about a range of topics, whether that is education, sports or involvement in volunteering. It has been a really wonderful program to help them integrate into the Australian lifestyle. So, to me, multiculturalism means a sense of diversity in cultural heritage and background. This diversity should be celebrated.

Today I specifically want to address the notion of multiculturalism within an educational context. As an educator, I have experienced a range of culturally diverse classrooms—for example, I have had students of 18 different cultural ethnicity within a class of 24 students—where students feel comfortable and safe and flourish in such a supportive environment. However, the reality is that racism and discrimination are still prevalent in our schools and community, and teachers and staff members still feel uncomfortable and are too scared to have the explicit conversations about race. It is harmful to say that we do not see race. When students experience racism and do not have the right support to debrief on it, they end up reflecting it on themselves—seeing themselves as the problem—and feel ashamed of their culture, and may in turn reject it. This can have tremendous negative effects on their sense of identity, perpetuating a sense of loss, confusion and shame.

As educators and leaders in the community, it is our job to work collaboratively to promote a safe learning environment for our students and members of the community. As pre-service teachers, we propose more support and training for cultural competency for all staff working with young people. When students feel safe and supported to explore their cultural identity and multiculturalism within their community they can grow and form their sense of self-awareness, which is integral to the development of all people.

Multiculturalism is not a conversation we should only have during Harmony Day. It is a conversation we should have every day, and in that way we can have Harmony Day every day.

Ms Safa : I am Shabnam, and I will go straight to my story. I came to Australia as an Afghan refugee in 2009. Growing up as a refugee child in a town full of other refugees who looked like me, dressed like me, ate what I ate and talked in the same language as me, I did not know what it meant to be in a multicultural society in a diverse community until I actually came to Australia. My experience of growing up in Melbourne, Victoria, is what defines multiculturalism to me: growing up in a community made up of people from all around the world, who speak over 100 languages and practice many different faiths. What makes it super great for me is how beautifully we all function together as a community, putting behind us all of the things that make us different.

I felt very welcome and supported and accepted when it came to this country, less than 10 years ago. However, that sense of community and belonging is now confronted with the negative portrayals of fellow Australians in the mainstream media. The one-sidedness, bias and language, specifically the language used in the media, have a great impact on how a community works and how community members perceive each other and their contribution. The reality of our country is that we are a nation built on migration and the contribution of migrants. We should not have to look a certain way and speak in a certain language to feel Australian. I feel more Australian than Afghan, and I believe I contribute as much to this community as anyone else. I take my rights and privileges of being an Australian citizen very seriously. I understand the importance and power of my voice or who I choose to represent me in the form of voting. I have also run as a candidate in the recent local government elections, because I believe I have something to contribute to this community and I belong here, and I want everyone to feel that way. There is a great amount of good work happening out there that the media could focus on, such as the work that the Centre for Multicultural Youth is doing for multicultural and diverse young people. Young Australians are doing amazing work that goes unnoticed or is overshadowed by a small, negative, overexaggerated story in the media under the assumption that that would be more appealing to their audience.

Let us not label each other. Let us not be a refugee or a migrant. Let us all regard each other as fellow Australians and not focus on the mode of transport that was taken to get to this country. As leaders, and influencers in the media, you have a great responsibility on your shoulders to facilitate that. Thank you.

CHAIR: Thank you to everyone who gave a statement, and I thank you, Ms Guerra, for giving an opportunity to some very inspirational young people to tell their stories. We often talk about you but we do not hear enough from you, so it is great for you to have a platform to present. I thank you for those really wonderful contributions. We have some time for questions.

One of the things that came up through all of your statements was the representation and portrayal of immigrants and refugees in the media. I am interested in what conversations you are having with your friends and colleagues. When that stuff comes up, I imagine it triggers a range of emotions from feeling sad and disappointed to angry. Can you share with us how you talk about that stuff when it comes up, when there is a front page story of someone who might have come here from overseas and they have been involved in an act of violence? It might be a story of a young person with an immigrant background who is involved in a crime and it seems that the focus is where they have come from and not the action that they have committed. Can you tell us the kinds of conversations you have with your colleagues and how it makes you feel.

Ms Po : Angry because I feel that acts of violence are a cry for help. We should not belittle them. There is an underlying problem that is going on. When you focus on where they are coming from, people feel quite frustrated and quite angry. I am not saying they are doing these things in some instances on purpose to get help. The consequence is not following through; people are not handling it appropriately and it is making them frustrated and angry. They are seeing that they are being objectified.

Ms Lu : Furthermore, young people do fear having the conversation. They are worried from the story reflecting on themselves. Take the Muslim community as an example with the stories in the media. It is synonymous: Muslims and terrorists. They are being grouped together and it is so frustrating for these people. They want to be able to express themselves and say, 'That is not a representation of my culture or my people or me.' They are too fearful to even have that conversation. I remember sharing a video recently on social media about speaking out against racism targeted at Muslim people and one of my Muslim friends said 'Thank you for sharing that' because she did not feel supported enough to have that conversation.

Ms Safa : Same as them, that feeling of frustration and anger. As you were saying, I feel like the conversations we have with our friends do not have really have that much of an impact because we all believe the same thing. It is us going out to the community and talking to the people with a different perception and having the conversation with them. The media put that pressure on you: if you look a certain way or if you speak a certain language or come from a certain part of the world, then probably everything you do is up to no good. It is the language used in the media. We are not saying that the media should not focus on all the negative stories; yes, of course people need to know. But people do not need to know all the extra information. They could focus on something better. If, say, a third-generation migrant commits an act of violence, the violence is forgotten and the fact that they might need help is forgotten about, but the fact that maybe his grandparents came from the Middle East all those years ago is said to maybe have an important role in doing this terrible act. Or a person is not of a certain category, all of that is ignored and a simple headline says that maybe he or she is mentally unstable and that is why they committed that act.

CHAIR: We talked a lot about the media—and I think we are generally referring to mainstream media. What are your experiences online with social media? I am interested to hear about that.

Ms Po : Personally, I have left social media by force.

CHAIR: Why is that?

Ms Po : They are toxic. The image of me that I get from them is unhealthy. The image that I get of migrants and people of African and Muslims is so unhealthy. It is detrimental for my identity and my wellbeing to stay on those platforms, because there is nothing that is positive.

Senator DUNIAM: Is the image you were just talking about from others engaging on social media and all the general things that would appear in your feed? Can you explain it a bit more?

Ms Po : The feed. My understanding of social media is that it is like an algorithm. They are looking at the statistics of who is online. It is not necessarily an organic place. Some platforms like Tumblr feel more organic. Facebook feels like mainstream online.

Senator DUNIAM: So this was not people making comments directly at you; it was just some of the stuff that was appearing in your feed?

Ms Po : I have been in Australia for 10 years. I have been on social media for 10 years, since I was about 16 or 17. It was necessary for me to be on there to communicate with my friends. After a while I could see that their comments were being enticed by the things that had been posted, so they were forming their own negative opinions of previous tabloids, so to speak.

Senator DUNIAM: I understand. Thank you.

Ms Lu : I have a quick comment about something that is a bit more positive. In the media recently there was a lot of sharing of stories about representation of Asian people in Hollywood films and things like that. It was widely shared and there was a lot of celebration around that. People were saying that they really wanted to watch it because they could see that they were giving a platform to someone of Asian descent, which is rare to see. As much as the negative stuff does take over, there are some good things happening on social media as well. It does come back to the fact that anyone can create content on social media and it spreads. Unfortunately, the negative stuff does spread further than the positive things. That was something that was celebrated within our community.

Ms Safa : With social media, the good thing is that you can always switch off. For me personally, when it gets too much I just turn off my phone and do not go on Facebook for a while.

CHAIR: Some people cannot.

Ms Safa : I ran in the local government elections. I invited people to attack me. The sad thing is that in reality, outside social media and the online platforms, these mindsets exist. That is what does not let me sleep at night—that people have that perception and they practise it and voice it every day. They have that mindset and they live with it. For us as young people there is a lot more responsibility than just being active on social media, because I believe all my friends on Facebook have the same perception that I do and have the same opinions. That is why we are friends. I do not have need to convince them, but we need to go out there and talk to people in real life settings. I believe that is the reason why Shout Out as a program was created as well. We feel like we need to go out and talk to people in person because it is their personal interaction in our stories that creates a change.

CHAIR: Mr Mahendren, have you noticed with the young people you work with that social media is playing a role, albeit a negative or a positive one? Are there experiences like the one we have just heard where people are disengaging because they have found it so toxic? Is that happening?

Mr Mahendren : There is that negative side of it, but the plus side of it is keeping in touch with friends and family. There are obviously both sides. It is not something that has been raised with us. Touching on the other comment before about how the negative media makes people feel, we have had conversations with women from an Islamic background, a Muslim background, who are feeling fear and anxiety over the issue.

CHAIR: How does that manifest itself? Practically, does that mean they are not leaving the house and are not engaging in a way they would have previously?

Mr Mahendren : It is early stages of discussion, but I think it is affecting their behaviour. They are concerned about, for example, things that they should not be—like being out by themselves in Australia. They should not be concerned by it, but it is starting to become a concern for certain people.

CHAIR: In terms of the success stories, Ms Guerra, one of the things that you said—which I think is important to remind us of—is how successful Australia has been as a multicultural nation. You started with that. I think it is great to hear some positive stories. I am just wondering if there is anything that you would like to share in terms of things we have done well that we can keep doing well or do even better than what we are doing.

Ms Guerra : I am happy to answer that. First of all, I think we need to stop dismantling the structures—which have existed for a long time—that we have taken for granted in Australia, which are the policy frameworks we have had. I think the ugly nature of the public debate, which we all talked about, is unfortunate.

CHAIR: When you say the policy, can you give me an example of what you mean when you say that? Are you talking about protections against racial discrimination?

Ms Guerra : Yes, that is right, and all the others. There are probably endless ones of them. It is about enshrining the value that migrants and refugees have made this country, which I think is being challenged. That is what troubles us. The reason the work we do with young people is so positive is because this is the reality of the world we live in. We are multicultural. In 10 years time, one in two people are going to come from a non-English-speaking background. Seeing that this group of young people will be the leaders of the future is what gives people like me hope to know that the ugly debates we have got will not be here. Most people under 40 who I work with or come into contact with know nothing else. They look around and say, 'How can we not see the world as being multicultural?'

We might not do much in that kind of public debate, but the structures supporting organisations and community groups to do the grassroots work has to continue, as well as a strong multicultural policy structure. We are pleased that the current government has released that policy. We would love to see more bipartisan support. In essence, there is bipartisan support. When I speak to leaders of all forms of government and to politicians, I see at the heart of it that people support multiculturalism. But many, like these young people, do not see that. I think that is very unfortunate. Something is not right with the messages too. I think we need to have that reinforced at two levels; grassroots and policy have to come together.

CHAIR: Senator Dodson, it is shame you cannot see via teleconference. We have got a wonderful representation of the Australian community and young people, in particular, who have just given statements. If you have got any questions, over to you.

Senator DODSON: I really do apologise for not being personally present.

CHAIR: Sorry, that was not meant as a criticism, by the way.

Senator DODSON: That is fine. I have listened intently. I want to congratulate all who have spoken around this question of finding space, getting tolerance and understanding the diversity and differences that exist. It is very impressive and I congratulate you all on that work. I did have some questions, but in the interests of time I will defer them. Let me just say how impressed I was with the presentations and the comments.

CHAIR: Great. Unless there is anything you would like to say that you think has come up that has not been addressed or given an opportunity for final reflections, we are all good.

Senator DUNIAM: I would just like to say that I want to commend Ms Safa for putting her hand up for local government. I commend all of you to consider getting involved in public life, because that is how you do make a difference down the track. Well done, I commend you all.

CHAIR: I second those comments. There are many ways you can make a great contribution. In fact, many of you already are. Thank you so much.

Ms Guerra : There is one of the other key messages that the young people have talked to us a lot about, just to put it on the table: the young people I work with are feeling unheard. People like Shabnam, who have gone to local government—actually, I think you are right, Senator: young people want to be heard. But the structures around them are not allowing them to be heard. I am not sure how much of that is outside the realm of this committee, but it is really important to have it noted that they actually want to participate. I think there is a negative perception of young people from multicultural backgrounds.

I work with thousands of young people. Nationally, there are hundreds of thousands of young people who do not have a vehicle to be heard. I think it is really important to say that. If there is any opportunity where you would like any follow-up information or if you do not get a chance to speak to young people, we can do that at a national level through Nadine's role and we are happy to help in Victoria. If we can provide you with some further details about the generation who will be in charge soon, that is probably all the better for the outcomes of what your committee comes up with.

CHAIR: Rise up, young people. Thank you.

Mr Pratama : I will just highlight one thing that I really want to express on this, just quickly. It is about raising awareness in gambling for young people, not just Australians but also with multiculturalism. What I am well aware of, talking about the social media, and something that you may not be well aware of is the advertisement about gambling. You can see all of the corporate gambling everywhere. Even if you go the MCG, you can see the advertisements of bet365 or Ladbrokes. It is increasing over a period of three years. I feel really consternated about the future of young Australians and also young migrants who just recently came here and might not know what is gambling. We also need to raise awareness towards that not just for young people but also with parenting. Give the parent a sense of that. That is what I wanted to say about gambling; that is all.

CHAIR: That is a big issue, Mr Pratama. Thank you. It is something we, in the parliament, are also very concerned about. Some of us have legislation to try to restrict the advertising that goes on. I agree wholeheartedly with you that the advertising and promotion of gambling and sports betting is out of control. I think there is an obligation on us in the parliament to do something about that. That will the subject of another inquiry. Thank you so much for your presentations. I really appreciate it. It has been lovely hearing from all of you. We will now have a break.

Proceedings suspended from 12 : 01 to 13 : 05