TAMBORINE Mountain High School student Rueben Davis led a passionate debate on indigenous affairs broadcast to a national audience on Monday.
The aspiring film director from Eagleby appeared as a panelist on a special ABC Q&A program broadcast on Monday, September 10, featuring four high school students across Australia.
Fresh from a denuclearisation campaign at Ashgrove, Mr Davis applied for a spot on the panel after encouragement from his aunt.
The debate featured a range of topics including indigenous affairs, the federal government’s leadership crisis, climate change and the plight of asylum seekers detained offshore.
Mr Davis said truth telling needed to be at the centre of the debate on indigenous issues.
“The first step is coming to admit that was happened (in the past) was very wrong and we need to come to terms with that,” he said.
“Treaty is the next step...we are one of the only countries remaining to not have a treaty with our first nations people which is terrible.
“When you look at a nation like Canada, which does have a treaty, and the strides they are taking with education...it is amazing.”
Mr Davis challenged National Party panelist Bridget McKenzie on former Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s appointment as special envoy on Indigenous Affairs and the government’s rejection of the Uluru Statement from the Heart.
“When Bridget said (the government) were committed to a more powerful indigenous voice in parliament and then you see Tony Abbott as the special envoy for Indigenous issues...it is another white male speaking on behalf of indigenous issues,” he said.
“It is very contradictory.”
The year 12 student said it was a privilege to network with fellow panelists Holly Cooke (South Australia), Joanne Tran (NSW) and Dylan Storer (West Australia).
Mr Davis called on young people to be more engaged in politics and stand up for what they believe in.
“Because who else’s hand is the future going to be in? It is with the youth,” he said.
“Even if we spare ten minutes to watch the news headlines. It will help make a difference in the future.”
The Q&A show was broadcast from the Australian National University, Canberra.