YOUNG PEOPLE ARE INVESTED IN POLITICS THIS ELECTION, WITH THE HOPE OF SEIZING OPPORTUNITIES FOR GROWTH AND CHANGE
We are entering the final day of the election campaign as this newsletter arrives in your inbox. Like many of you, MYAN has been busy advocating to all parties, urging them to give greater focus and attention to multicultural young people – and the issues that affect them. Against a backdrop of unprecedented social and economic upheaval, it is crucial that young people can see that their interests and concerns are being listened to, and understood, by politicians.
Young people will shoulder much of the long-term economic and social consequences of the pandemic, their wellbeing superseded by short-term economic and equity considerations. There are real concerns for our youth population and particularly for those who face barriers to economic, social, and civic participation. The impact on all aspect of their lives, including education, employment, mental health, social and family relationships are profound.
MYAN spoke with a number of young people during the election campaign period who said they feel they are not heard, listened to, or valued by our political parties. Yet, our multicultural youth population is an integral and important contributor to the social and economic fabric of the Australian community. “As young people, we hope to be represented by candidates who understand the socio-economic context of today, how it shapes our generation and ultimately, how to deliver critical – much needed – support,” says 23-year-old Kate Yeung, from MYAN’s young people network.
“I have worked with a large network of driven and talented young people across Australia that are interested in politics and actively advocating for better outcomes for our generation.”
MYAN has supported hundreds of young people across the country to reach out to their local members and ask them about their vision for young people. Our youth ambassadors also spoke with various media outlets about the election, including news.com.au, SBS, ABC, Junkee, and triple j Hack. An opinion piece by 21-year-old Zahra Al Hilaly was published in The West Australian, while an opinion piece by Kate Yeung was published in the Herald Sun.
Young people are the experts in their own lives, and they should be included to help create and advise on solutions to issues that affect them. To whichever party wins government, we urge you to recognise that is a crucial time to work with young people to install a vision of a future that they feel hopeful and confident in.
Kate says “In this upcoming election, I urge young people to vote, no matter how disillusioned or powerless they feel because there is power in numbers and young people account for a significant portion of the voting population. Vote for those who cannot vote and for those who are less privileged. Not voting is giving up your voice and if we want to seize the opportunity for growth and change, it is crucial to exercise your fundamental democratic right.”
Carmel Guerra OAM, MYAN’s Chairperson
Kate Yeung, MYAN’s youth representative
Multicultural Youth Advocacy Network Australia (MYAN) is an advocacy non-profit peak body that provides advice to the government and capacity building to those who work with young people. Since our formal inception in 2007, we have been working in partnership with young people, government, and civil society to promote the rights and interests of young people from refugee and migrant backgrounds and ensure these are recognised in policy and practice. We facilitate national connections between young people, academics, policy makers and practitioners, provide policy expertise, youth leadership opportunities, and develop capacity building resources.