UNICEF Australia Young Ambassadors, Emily, Kbora and Harrison are passionate about advocating for children's rights and promoting social justice. They share a vision for Australia in which First Nations children and young people enjoy the fulfilment of all their rights and support the constitutional recognition of a Voice to Parliament for First Nations peoples as aspired to in the Uluru Statement from the Heart.
Our Young Ambassadors know how important it is to have an opportunity to speak up for children’s rights and on issues that matter most to young people in Australia.
For many non-Indigenous people, it can be uncomfortable to talk about issues that don't affect them directly. But with this referendum, every Australian has the opportunity to make an informed decision on the Voice. As allies, it’s our responsibility to educate ourselves and our peers.
Find out why our Young Ambassadors support the Voice to Parliament and why they believe it is important to recognise the rights of First Nations peoples in Australia.
"We have grown up in a world that is more aware of Indigenous issues, and we understand the importance of reconciliation and equality. It is essential that we have a say in the decisions that will shape the future of this country, and that includes the decision to have a dedicated Indigenous voice in parliament."
UNICEF Australia Young Ambassador and a First Nations ally, Emily is passionate about advocating for the human rights of all people, regardless of background, identity or intersectionality.
Why do you believe the Voice to Parliament is important to all Australians?
For too long, First Nations peoples have been marginalised and excluded from decision-making that affects them. This has devastated their communities, culture, and way of life on land that is rightfully theirs. The Voice to Parliament is an opportunity to change this at Australia’s highest level of decision-making.
The Voice to Parliament acknowledges the unique culture, history, and experiences of First Nations peoples. It provides a platform for them to express their views and have a say in decisions that affect their lives and communities. It is a step towards recognising their sovereignty and creating a more inclusive and just society for all. It acknowledges the injustices of the past and works towards a more equitable and reconciled future.
It is important that we all support the Voice to Parliament, not just for the benefit of First Nations peoples but for the benefit of all Australians. It is an opportunity to create a better future for all, one that is built on a foundation of mutual respect, understanding, and cooperation. It is an opportunity to acknowledge the humanity and dignity of all people, regardless of their background, identity, or intersectionalities. This is not just a matter of justice and human rights. It is a matter of building a better future for all Australians.
Why do you think it is important for young people to be informed and empowered during the referendum process?
- We are the future: As young people, we are the ones who will inherit the consequences of the referendum's outcome. We need to be informed and empowered to make decisions that will shape our collective future.
- Our voices matter: Many young people feel like our voices are not heard or valued, especially in the political sphere. The referendum is an opportunity for us to have our voices heard and to make a difference.
- It's a chance for change: The referendum is a chance for us to make positive changes and to take steps towards reconciliation. We can push for meaningful and lasting change by being informed and empowered.
" When we have power over our destiny, our children will flourish. They will walk in two worlds, and their culture will be a gift to their country."
UNICEF Australia Young Ambassador and a First Nations ally, Kbora believes in elevating the voices of children and young people – and being a Young Ambassador is a platform to reach decision makers, which is where change begins.
Why do you believe the Voice to Parliament is important to all Australians?
According to Reconciliation Australia, about 80 per cent of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders want the Voice to Parliament to happen. We, as non-Indigenous people, have a much greater duty to elevate, protect, and raise our voices with and for them. This referendum is a testimony to unveiling what we, as Australians, really stand for. I hope it will be a reflection of how we will “toil with our hearts and hands” in unity and inclusivity.
Let us be the generation that will systemically implement and listen to the voices of people for whom decisions are being made for. Let us be that generation that finally stops the generational suffering of our First Nations children by raising our and their voices in Parliament.
What can non-Indigenous individuals do to support the referendum and positively impact on the lives of First Nations children in Australia?
Simply starting and engaging in meaningful conversation about the referendum at home, classrooms, work and sporting grounds. We should not leave this responsibility on the shoulders of only our First Nations people to advocate because this is a matter of our national responsibility.
Growing up as a migrant in Australia, I never really had the privilege to learn about our First Nations peoples to the extent our education should teach us. Today, as a young Australian, I understand the importance of educating myself not only to learn, but more importantly, to acknowledge our First Nations people and their prominent presence in our nation’s history.
Young people are and will be the future leaders of our country; therefore, we must be educated on the process of the referendum. This is a historic moment because the future remains in the hands of the Australian public. Young people must be proactive and look deeper into our past and our present. Voting yes will shift and change the trajectory of First Nations peoples lives and will impact us, the wider Australian Community, equally and positively.
UNICEF Australia believes that every child and young person should have a say in matters that affect their lives, and this includes First Nations children who are experiencing disparities in Australia. When every child and young person is given this opportunity, UNICEF sees it result in better outcomes. This is why UNICEF Australia supports constitutional recognition of an Indigenous Voice to Parliament.
Join us in making this vision for First Nations children a reality, by voting YES in the upcoming referendum. Let's work together to create a fairer and more equitable future for every child in Australia.
For more detail on our position, please visit UNICEF Australia supports Indigenous Voice to Parliament.
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