Star student political debater shares 'important' message
WATCH out members of parliament, Richmond River High School student Seth-Taylor Smith is about to represent NSW at the National Schools Constitutional Convention in Canberra this week.
After being selected from thousands to join 130 other talented youngsters as a member of the student Constitutional Convention in NSW Parliament last October, Seth was the only student outside of Sydney in the state chosen alongside 29 others to compete at the 24th National Convention from March 19-21.
The convention will unfold at the Museum of Australian Democracy at Old Parliament House, where Seth will stretch his debating wings again among 129 other Year 11 and 12 students from around Australia to discuss the topic of 'A new constitutional preamble for Australia?.'
This topic will provide students with the opportunity to explore the present Constitution and if a preamble is required. A range of stimulus speakers will discuss the issues with students for them to debate with all delegates.
Seth said he was looking forward to putting forward his argument that Aboriginal and Torres Straight Islander peoples should be recognised as the first peoples of the land in the constitution.
"I am strongly in favour of a constitutional preamble," Seth said.
"I would like to create awareness about the issue and hopefully change some peoples minds, and with any luck it might go to a legitimate federal referendum, where we might be able to get some change out of it."
Upon his return from the convention Seth will head to polls for the first-time on March 23 for the state elections.
"I'm excited to vote," he said.
"I feel like younger people should be more interested in politics - I remember being around 16 and a lot of people were saying we don't need to worry about politics because we don't have to vote yet - but these same people are still having these attitudes and they are all 18 now.
"People are starting to realise the voting demographic is going down- the age of the average voter is around 30-40 instead of 50.
"So more young people are having more control and influence over who gets into office and can really make changes that affects their future. Because the younger the voters are the more relevant the decisions are, because they are going to last longer and impact their future."
He reiterated how important it was for young people to vote.
"It's so important," he said.
"Make sure you are educated - get enough information as you can - get the information from a wide variety of sources and make up your mind your self on who you are voting."
Looking ahead, Seth wants to study a law degree and will apply for early entry to a few universities later this year.
Outcomes from the Convention will be incorporated into a Communiqué that will be presented to the Deputy President of the Senate, Senator Sue Lines, for tabling in Parliament and recorded in Hansard.
Other elements of the program will include a meeting with the Speaker of the House of Representatives, The Hon Tony Smith MP at Parliament House, and a dinner at the High Court of Australia.
The Convention is supported by all state and territory Ministers and funded by the Australian Government Department of Education and Training.