This speech was given by high-school student Lawson Tanner at a rally for marriage equality in Sydney on May 31. *** The long road of changing public opinion and constant campaigning, which has brought us to now, a time where many believe this could be it. The Greens have recently introduced a private member’s bill to amend the Marriage Act to remove restrictions on marriage being between a man and a woman, and Labor have also put in a similar bill.
I'm 16 years old. I identify as queer and am in year 11 in high school. While I go to a tolerant and progressive school, there are many students like me who do not enjoy this privilege. For people like me, school can be the most dangerous place to be. For people like me, mental health issues are rife because of experiences at school. For people like me, things need to change in our schools. The Growing Up Queer report, released this year by Twenty10 in conjunction with the University of Western Sydney, has revealed some staggering facts about life at school for queer kids.
Communities in Maules Creek, New South Wales, are banding together with environmental activists in order to stop coal mining in the Leard State Forest, which threatens to kill wildlife, destroy forestry and worsen climate change due to increased greenhouse gas emissions. Whitehaven Coal, a relatively small coal-mining company, is opening up new mines in various communities around Australia, aiming to maximise profit through the destruction of the environment.
This was a speech given to a Refugee Action Coalition forum in Sydney on May 5. *** I am in Year 11 at a school in Sydney’s inner-west, and like many other high school students, I care about refugee and queer rights, as well as for the rights of women, the rights of Aboriginal Australians and the environment. I am also an activist for all of these things. From what I've seen, many students support refugee rights and I've found few people my age who oppose them. But I've got into many stupid arguments about refugees with older people.
I am a Year 11 high school student, and when I heard they were trying to transfer more refugees from Villawood, I couldn’t stand by. Standing outside the detention centre in the early morning of April 5 while waiting for the buses to move, I saw a Facebook status from one of the protest's spokespeople, Clo Schofield, who had just been interviewed on right-wing radio station 2GB. Schofield encouraged us to ring to air our grievances about Australia's cruel and heartless asylum seeker policy.
For the past eight months, I worked at a well-known retail chain for a fraction of the cost of other employees. I am 16-years-old and was being paid “youth wages”. I resigned at the end of February, even though I enjoyed working there. I was receiving second-class wages for the same work as older workers with the same position. When I originally applied for the job in June last year, I was told that my pay would be scaled down a certain percentage for every year under 21 years of age I was.
As “rainbow” high school students we would like to talk about an important issue which relates to us, and that is the NSW Anti-Discrimination Act 1977. This act protects people from being discriminated against based on factors such as age, sex, marital status, religion, sexuality, gender identity as well as many other factors. On the surface, this act is amazing for ending discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and queer (LGBTIQ) people in particular.