Building a
youth agenda

Climate change, mental health and domestic violence - these are some of the issues most affecting young people in 2023, as voted by attendees at Represent Us, a special youth event we hosted at Federation Square’s The Edge in March.

Bringing together leading activists, artists and thought-leaders, Represent Us set out to imagine how democracy in Australia can better deliver for young people. 

The event opened with a very special Welcome to Country by Lyn-al Young, a proud descendant of the Gunnai, Wiradjuri, Gunditjmara and Yorta Yorta nations.

During the panel discussion that followed, Sashi spoke with Abiola, Shani and Kira about representation, their own motivations for pursuing social change and the advice they would give to young people wanting to be heard in decision-making spaces.

MEET OUR speakers

Sashi Perera

Comedian and writer 

Tarang Chawla

Multicultural Commissioner

Lyn-al Young

Gunnai, Wiradjuri, Gunditjmara and Yorta Yorta fashion designer

Abiola Ajetomobi

Former Director of the ASRC Innovation Hub

Kira Puru


Shani Cain

Former CEO of Oaktree

Sydney-based musician Liyah Knight

Sydney-based musician Liyah Knight

The panel was followed by a musical performance by Liyah Knight, and a poignant keynote speech delivered by Tarang Chawla, in which he spoke about Not One More Niki, the campaign he co-founded to end violence against women and children, named in honour of his younger sister Nikita who was murdered in 2015 by her partner.

With a large proportion of young men in the audience, the impact of Tarang’s very personal story was palpable and highlighted the responsibility of the entire community in shifting attitudes and promoting gender equality.

Overall, the day was a thought provoking and inspiring starting point for Plan International Australia, as we build a youth agenda to guide the work of our new government.

Some reflections from the male high-school students that attended the event: 

“This experience was very eye opening for me because I knew that inequality was an issue, just not to this extent.
I now know what some women must go through to do almost anything in their lives. Women or anyone should not face abuse because of the colour of their skin nor because of their gender.”

- Olivier

“This experience taught me about how I need to make sure the women in my life are treated right and respected by myself and others. This experience will always stay with me because it is very important for every man to respect women and treat them like equals rather than just an object because women are also human and no different to us.”

- Ashton

“Sadly, one of the speakers, Tarang,
told us a story of how his sister died.
I felt really moved by what not only Tarang had to say but also all of the other people who were speaking up on the panel and their views on how they see the world and problems that they and many other people are faced
with everyday.”

- Massimo

“This meaningful excursion will
always stay with me because it challenged me to think outside the box and to think about things I may have never thought of.”

-  Isaac