Mufaro Mutowembwa was a voice among the youth who spent three days in Canberra fielding a new preamble for Australia’s constitution.
The highly articulate Year 12 student at All Saints’ Catholic College was one of 120 politically aware students who attended the National Schools Constitutional Convention from 19 March.
Mufaro was selected to attend the three-day conference by her peers at a NSW Parliamentary Day in October, where discussion centred on whether Australian politicians should be allowed to hold dual citizenship.
If young people don’t have a voice … in the political, legal and social sphere, when it comes time for us to step up there will be an imbalance.
“There was a lot of group discussion that had a lot of freedom to it,” Mufaro said. “You we’re learning from other kids who are the same age as you but contributing these incredible ideas.” This time, Mufaro and her peers discussed the potential need for a new preamble to the Australian constitution, and possible legal barriers to formulating a new one. She said while a lot of what is contained in the current preamble makes sense or is justifiable, some elements were outdated and needed reform. “There is a lack of recognition, for instance, of Aboriginal reconciliation,” she said. “The preamble should reflect the changing values of Australia today. Mufaro said she valued the opportunity for youth to have a voice on political topics. “As cliché as this may seem, our generation is the future,” she said.
“If young people don’t have a voice and aren’t interested in things that are going on in the political sphere, the legal sphere and the social sphere, then when it comes time for us to step up there will be an imbalance and an absence of the knowledge that is needed.
“We’re getting interested and involved at a young age so when it comes time for us to vote, and to elect, we’ll have that knowledge, grit and background of information.”
Mufaro’s public speaking abilities left her well-placed to contribute to discussion. She was the only Year 11 student to make a top spot in the Catholic Schools Debating Association’s (CSDA) 2018 Public Speaking competition, placing fourth overall.
However, the Constitutional Convention was not all talk, with highlights including a dinner at the High Court of Australia and the chance to absorb the atmosphere in parliament.
When she graduates from All Saints’, Mufaro plans to study law and international relations at university, write, and perhaps one day enter politics.
“I grew up in a family who encouraged being politically aware and having your own opinion, and definitely not just going with the crowd,” she said.
“Any course that would lead me to exert what I am good at and help people would be the dream job. Whatever that will be, that’s what I will do.”