Grey-haired youth representatives

Issue 

Grey-haired youth representatives

By John Smith

CANBERRA — Prominent at the jobs summit was an organisation that most people had not heard of before: the Australian Youth Policy and Action Coalition (AYPAC). The young people who attended the summit (there were only three) had been selected by AYPAC.

AYPAC is a new body recently set up to replace the Youth Affairs Council of Australia, which was a peak council of youth lobby organisations. AYPAC is funded by the federal government and has representatives from the peak youth organisations in each state as well as from national youth organisations.

In practice, AYPAC has so far functioned more as a Labor Party voice "for" youth than as an organisation of young people. Its chairperson, Paul Turley, who was also AYPAC delegate at the summit, is grey-haired; the consultative delegate (and AYPAC executive director), Martin Attridge, is 39.

In the period leading up to the summit, AYPAC officials made clear their support for the proposals of the Carmichael Report. Turley's main comment to the media following the AYPAC meeting with Keating on July 21 was to point out that Keating had taken some notes during the meeting, and this suggested that he had listened to AYPAC's concerns.

The three jobless young people who attended the summit were hand-picked by AYPAC and kept away from the media as much as possible.

A source who was inside Parliament House reports that these young people were also prevented from attending the alternative summit going on outside, which they had been invited to address. They were told, wrongly, that the outside gathering had become rowdy and no longer wanted them to speak.

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