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Speech: Youth Voice in Parliament Week

Speeches in Parliament
Mehreen Faruqi 21 Oct 2021

I am enthusiastically supporting the inaugural Youth Voice in Parliament Week, and I have the privilege of reading one of the more than 600 speeches submitted to us by young people. So here goes:

"My name is Yehansa Dahanayake. I am 13 years old. I live in Meadowbank, Ryde, New South Wales, in the Bennelong electorate. What do I want Australia to look like in 20 years? In 20 years, I want kids' faces to light up as they see dolls in ranges of skin colours and find one that looks exactly like them. In 20 years, I hope that kids can have bandaids that match their skin tone. In 20 years, I hope that racially diverse characters in TV shows, movies and media are shown in a better light and are shown often. In 20 years, I hope that job opportunities and pay are equal for everyone, no matter what skin colour, religious background or identification. In 20 years, I hope Australia is an equal place, starting with bandaids and dolls. Though it may seem little, this is important. Knowing what it means to be accepted means that children can recognise racial discrimination as they grow up. They will understand racism is not right, and they will learn to educate others standing up against it. This is the key to a kinder Australia. A kinder Australia is the start to a kinder world. My hope in 20 years is that the differences we have shouldn't be masked but celebrated."

Thank you, Yehansa, for your vision for an antiracist world that is kinder to all of us. It is inspiring to see young people telling it like it is. You are demanding and taking action for a better world. I'm ready to support your revolution. It's the least that I can do.


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