Your voice matters
Benson Saulo, connected to the Wemba Wemba and Gundjitmara Aboriginal nations of Western Victoria and New Ireland Province in PNG, has an important message for young people – ‘Your voice matters’.
Benson started his professional life as a bank teller aged just 15, rising through the ranks to foreign exchange and business banking. In 2011 he was appointed as the Australian Youth Representative to the United Nations.
At 32, Benson is the youngest member of the Senior Advisory Group guiding the Indigenous voice co-design process, and he is passionate about young people’s participation in the process.
‘I’ve been really fortunate over the last few years to work with young people right across Australia, and in particular working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander youth.
‘When we look at the next generation, they are already thinking about the kind of impact they want to have, not only on their family, but on the community around them.
‘And at a higher level, they’re thinking about what kind of impact they want to have on Australia, in shaping the identity of our nation.’
With 50% of Indigenous Australians aged under 25, Benson wants to make sure young people have a seat at the table when creating an Indigenous voice.
‘Something that really drives me, particularly when talking about the development of an Indigenous voice, is the role of young people’s voices in informing it.
‘Ultimately, young people are going to inherit the decisions we make today, so it’s really important that we involve young people in the decision-making process.
‘Here’s an opportunity to have a voice at a national, regional level, and local level, a way to channel good ideas, a way to channel your experiences to start shaping communities, and start shaping our nation for the future.
‘Young people can prepare for these conversations now at home. You can start talking with your family, at school, at university, in your community and in your workplace about the representation of young people, and about what is important to you.
‘Young people need to be front and centre in creating an Indigenous voice, and I’m really pleased to be part of the process of co-designing the Indigenous voice.’