HUNTER teenager Kupakwashe Matangira is hoping the country’s political parties consider the manifesto for change she co-wrote with other young adults ahead of the next federal election.
The Hunter Christian School year 12 student, 17, was selected last year as one of seven youth ambassadors for Australian aid and development agency, Save The Children.
The ambassadors spent eight months consulting with other young people and writing their 25 page manifesto, comprising 25 recommendations.
Kupakwashe and three other ambassadors travelled to Canberra late last year to lobby politicians, including former minister for foreign affairs Julie Bishop, shadow minister for foreign affairs Penny Wong, education minister Dan Tehan and Greens leader Richard Di Natale.
“We’re hoping these changes will be incorporated into policy,” Kupakwashe said.
“We spoke to them before Labor had its national conference. Coming into the election year it was integral we made our voices heard.
“I’m very confident [we will see a flow-on effect] because we had such positive responses and we are still in contact with the ministers and senators we spoke to about issues like extending the National Plan to Reduce Violence Against Women and Their Children beyond 2022, closing down the Manus Island and Nauru detention centres, signing on to the Safe Schools Declaration and juvenile detention.
“We will continue making our case until change happens.”
Kupakwashe helped write recommendations in all seven sections of the manifesto – climate change and the environment, keeping children safe from violence, refugee and asylum seekers, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community, LGBTQI+, juvenile detention and justice and youth health – but said she was particularly passionate about keeping children safe from violence.
“It’s a sad reality that politicians rarely consider the thoughts and opinions of young people when it comes to decision making,” she said.
“Being young doesn’t mean you’re unaware of the realities around you. I’m a strong believer in change created by young people, that’s what drives me – the knowledge the world is not as just as it should be and that we can do something about it.”
She hopes to become United Nations Secretary-General.
“You have the opportunity to do something more powerful than poverty, war, and hatred and division – you’re given the opportunity to make peace.”