Senate debates

Tuesday, 19 October 2021

Statements by Senators

Voice in Parliament Week

1:52 pm

Photo of Janet RiceJanet Rice (Victoria, Australian Greens) Share this | | Hansard source

Today I am delighted to be participating in the Raise Our Voice in Parliament campaign, which asked Australians aged 21 or under to write a vision statement for Australia for members of parliament to read. I am honoured to share 18-year-old Chloe Cornford's vision for Australia:

Australia is said to be the land of the free. Filled with wonderful natural sites, beautiful native species and home to a diverse community of Australians, but we still struggle to better this country. We still must fight for equality in our own land. We still have to fight to protect Mother Earth. In 20 years I want Australia to feel free. For all people to feel grateful for their life here.

How do we achieve this? when women are treated so abhorrently, even in parliament? When our coral reefs are dying so someone can make more money? When people are still degraded for the colour of their skin, their sexual orientation or their financial status? there is still so much inequality today.

In twenty years I hope we gain more acceptance, I hope that we look after our lands. I hope we learn to listen to our Indigenous peoples. I hope women are treated with more respect, especially in parliament and that we truly reach some sense of equality. But above all in twenty years I hope Australia is filled with love. That we can teach future generations to love this country, these lands and its people, in the hope that we thrive as a nation. It is you here in parliament who must lead the way. You are the governing body over this land and people, so it is up to you to start respecting them, respecting us, and show this country some love. Stop trying to be a politician for personal gain, or for the benefit of the few. Take a look at Australia today and start taking action for a better Australia tomorrow, to create the best version of Australia, for the land, animals and people that call this country home.

Thank you, Chloe. It's been a privilege to share such heartfelt and wise words with the Senate