Raise Our Voice Australia

Jagajaga MP Kate Thwaites is among more than 40 Federal MPs from across Australia who have committed to reading out 90-second speeches written by youth around Australia from the floor of Parliament.

Young people aged under 21 are invited to submit a speech on the topic “What is your vision for Australia in 20 years?” for the chance to have their answer chosen as part of the Youth Voice in Parliament week.

MPs from every state and territory are taking part in Raise Our Voice Australia’s Raise Our Voice in Parliament campaign, including MPs from the Liberal Party, Australian Labor Party, Australian Greens, The Nationals, and independents.

Participating MPs will give up one of their speaking slots in October to deliver the chosen speeches.

“I want young people from Jagajaga to be heard in our Parliament – after all, it’s their futures we are making decisions about,” Jajajaja MP Kate Thwaites said.

“I’m really looking forward to receiving speeches from local young people and to being able to deliver one of them in Parliament.”

Raise Our Voice Australia has partnered with UNICEF, Generation Politics, YWCA, and Run For It to deliver the campaign, which is being co-led by Raise Our Voice Australia’s founder Ashleigh Streeter-Jones and Ruby Bisson.

Ms Streeter-Jones has been recognised by Forbes and the Australian Financial Review for her work in getting more young women into politics. Ms Bisson is a consent advocate, writer, and the director of Incredible Communications.

Ms Bisson ran the Youth Voice in Parliament campaign in 2018 with the Federal MP for
Parramatta, Julie Owens, and has partnered with Ms Streeter-Jones and Raise Our Voice
Australia to scale its impact.

“Most young Australians don’t possess a working knowledge of the Australian political system,” Ms Bisson said.

“Many don’t feel valued and heard by our policy makers either. Where is our future-focused government? Why is there such little recognition of the strength and influence of young people?

“At 18 I was passionate about social issues and hungry to learn more about politics but I
couldn’t tell you the difference between the major parties. This campaign endeavours to
increase the political literacy of young people, and connect them with resources to help develop their knowledge, understanding and confidence in Australian politics.”

Labor MP Julie Owens, who has represented the Electorate of Parramatta, in Western Sydney in NSW, since 2004, said the Youth Voice in Parliament campaign was an amazing experience.

“Young people, 12, 15, 18 years of age – raising their voices about things they cared about in the Federal Parliament – climate change, lack of support for young people leaving care, heavy school backpacks,” Ms Owens said.

“I loved it. They inspired me. If we oldies get out of the way, the future is in good hands.”

The Raise Our Voice in Parliament campaign is open to anyone living in Australia aged 21 and under. Speech submissions are open until September 21.

For a full list of participating MPs, further information, or to submit a speech, visit raiseourvoiceaustralia.com/youthvoice.

Successful applicants will be contacted by October 10. Successful speeches will be presented to the Australian Parliament and public during the Youth Voice in Parliament week, which runs from October 18 to 21.

“Raise Our Voice Australia is a social enterprise working to support the next generation of diverse public service leaders, politicians and public policy makers,” Ms Streeter-Jones said.

“We know our country’s young people are already leaders, particularly in the community and in non-government organisations.

We’ve made it our mission to support Australia’s young people, especially young women and those from marginalised backgrounds, and provide them with skills, opportunities, and an understanding of how Australia’s public policies are made so they can create meaningful change for the future they want.”