In 1901, the Australian Constitution came into effect excluding First Nations people and our
voices. That intent continues to permeate throughout our lives today.
A Voice to Parliament must be enshrined within the Australian Constitution to give our peoples
surety of an end to formal exclusion within the highest law of the land, once and for all. This
tells young First Nations people who inherit the future that they are being heard now, will
continue to be heard and their voice will not be ignored or abolished.
Young people look to mentors, role models and leaders to envision their own destiny. Brave First
Nation’s leaders have been forced to lead and inspire without a clear path forward. A
Constitutionally enshrined Voice to Parliament allows for current and emerging leaders and our
communities, to have their knowledges taken into account, and to control and plan their own
We should continue to look to the world, to Declarations for Indigenous peoples(1) and also
Conventions for Children(2). However, globally other First Nations peoples are engaged in the
struggle for basic human rights and freedoms, even with legal visibility.
There is urgency to build bridges between First Nations people and wider Australia in a
Referendum. We believe in hope, and draw your attention to the AIME Imagination Declaration from
2019, which was read out by Sienna Stubbs on August 5, 10:00am at the 2019 Garma Festival
1 UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, 2007
2 Convention on the Rights of a Child, 1989
AIME Imagination Declaration (2019)
To the Prime Minister & Education Ministers across Australia,
In 1967, we asked to be counted.
In 2017, we asked for a voice and treaty.
Today, we ask you to imagine what’s possible.
The future of this country lies in all of our hands.
We do not want to inherit a world that is in pain. We do not want to stare down huge inequality
feeling powerless to our fate. We do not want to be unarmed as we confront some of the biggest
problems faced by the human race, from rising sea levels, which will lead to significant refugee
challenges, to droughts and food shortages, and our own challenges around a
cycle of perpetuated disadvantaged.
It’s time to think differently.
With 60,000 years of genius and imagination in our hearts and minds, we can be one of the groups
of people that transform the future of life on earth, for the good
of us all.
We can design the solutions that lift islands up in the face of rising seas, we can work on
creative agricultural solutions that are in sync with our natural habitat, we can re-engineer
schooling, we can invent new jobs and technologies, and we can unite around kindness.
We are not the problem, we are the solution.
We don’t want to be boxed.
We don’t want ceilings.
We want freedom to be whatever a human mind can dream.
When you think of an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander kid, or in fact, any kid, imagine
what’s possible. Don’t define us through the lens of disadvantage or label us as limited.
Expect the best of us.
Expect the unexpected.
Expect us to continue carrying the custodianship of imagination,
entrepreneurial spirit and genius.
Expect us to be complex.
And then let us spread our wings, and soar higher than ever before.
We call on you and the Education Ministers across the nation to establish an imagination agenda
for our Indigenous kids and, in fact, for all Australian children.
We urge you to give us the freedom to write a new story.
We want to show the world Aboriginal genius.
We want to show the nation Aboriginal leadership and imagination.
Over the coming months we’ll be sharing the declaration with thousands of Indigenous kids
across our nation and together we’ll stand to say, “set an imagination agenda for our
classrooms, remove the limited thinking around our disadvantage, stop looking at us as a
problem to fix, set us free to be the solution and give us the stage to light up the world.”
We want the Imagination agenda in every school in the nation, from early childhood learning
centres through to our most prominent universities.
To our Prime Minister & Education Ministers, we call on you to meet with us and to work on an
imagination plan for our country’s education system, for all of us.
We are not the problem, we are the solution.
AIME continues to imagine the freedom to create new realities with its young people, its mentors
and mentees, educators, organisations in support of opportunities for First Nations people and
everyday citizens. Together, we see challenges as opportunities.
When First Nations people are afforded their right to speak, be heard and to participate in
legal processes, our Parliament can include an extraordinarily diverse culture which lives
across Australia in an array of environments and is multi-lingual across many hundreds of
languages and dialects.
For First Nations young people this must be in co-design, valuing our stories, cultures and
languages, and it must be Constitutionally enshrined, to represent that we are not a homogenous
peoples. We must be informed and part of the engagement process every step of the way in all
decisions about us.
A youth voice must be designed to allow the whole picture to come together and to find ways to
be truly representative. We hope for a shared future, not an inherited one with decisions made
A youth voice is imperative to dismantling inequity and creating solutions relating to First
Nations young people by First Nations young people. It is also a critical view to hold close
when evaluating and understanding the complexities of tomorrow.
When our voice is taken with the intention that it is provided, instead of for granted, when the
authenticity of a First Nations Youth Voice is legally visible and adapted into larger thinking.
When the solutions of our First Nations young people are adopted with their exact intent.
Imagine what's possible.
Artwork by Lily Tranby
Ruby Jeffrey, 22 years Drew Paten, 23 years Taryn Marks Jack Manning Bancroft
Wotjobaluk, Student, Gunai Kurnai, General Manager, Founder and Head of Design,
University of Melbourne Co-CEO AIME AIME AIME