Youth Voice to Parliament: Amelia Turk

Published on Thu 10 November 2022 9:56am

My office received a number of excellent speeches from writers between the ages of 13 and 21 on topics including health care, disability access and the environment. I can tell you it was a very difficult choice to make, but the speech I’ve chosen to deliver in this place was written by 16-year-old Amelia Turk, who lives in Fremantle and is in Year 11 at John Curtin College of the Arts, which I attended a long time ago.

Mr Wilson (9:56am) – Today I’m glad to bring the voices of young people in my electorate into this place. As part of the Youth Voice in Parliament campaign, young people across Australia were invited to prepare a short speech on their vision for our future, to be delivered by their member of parliament.

I want to commend Ashleigh Streeter-Jones of Raise our Voice on her powerful work in this campaign and note that, as a result of her advocacy, more than 80 of my colleagues in this House and the other place are speaking on behalf of young people from their parts of Australia.

A division having been called in the House of Representatives—

Sitting suspended from 09:57 to 10:12

Mr Wilson, in continuation –

My office received a number of excellent speeches from writers between the ages of 13 and 21 on topics including health care, disability access and the environment. I can tell you it was a very difficult choice to make, but the speech I’ve chosen to deliver in this place was written by 16-year-old Amelia Turk, who lives in Fremantle and is in Year 11 at John Curtin College of the Arts, which I attended a long time ago.

Amelia already has a resume that’s probably longer than mine. She’s spoken in the WA parliament, served as a youth board member for NGO Millennium Kids and attended as a delegate the International Cooperation Forum in Geneva and the Stockholm+50 international meeting.

These are the words and vision of Amelia Turk:

It’s 2072 and COP77 is being held in Australia.

The world is in awe, trying to comprehend the feat that Australia has achieved.

It started with a change of heart, then a set of strict and ambitious targets, and then the change to achieve those targets. Australia is now a leading nation, a nation admired for taking action when it was called for.

My name is Amelia Turk, I am 16, I live in Fremantle, WA, and this is my dream.

My dream is about the future but it is also about today, and the time in between.

If you do not act today, my dream is unlikely to become reality.

Australia’s environment is steadily deteriorating, the State of the Environment Report 2021 confirmed this. It confirmed that we need to take action now. We cannot wait any longer.

If Australia does not act now, it will be too late.

If you, the current leaders of Australia, do not act now you will leave this ‘dire’ environment to us.

If you do not act now, the future leaders of 2072 will have to deal with the consequences of today’s choices, carrying the burden of inaction from half a century earlier.

I ask you what you would prefer, for my dream to become a reality or the ‘dire’ outcome to be cemented into our planet and for the consequences to be on show for all the future generations?

It’s a very, very fair question that Amelia Turk poses. It’s a challenge for all of us in this place, and I thank Amelia. I thank all those right around Australia who have participated in the Youth Voices in Parliament initiative and contributed some fine words and some well-conceived visions of how Australia could be in more positive circumstances if we listen to the young people of Australia and do our jobs here.

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