Whitlam Institute

What Matters 2019 Shortlist

What Matters 2019 Shortlist



Kyla Rajkumar

Year 9, Wenona School for Girls

“The eyes of others our prisons; their thoughts our cages.” -Virginia Woolf

Offshore they wait;

Hanging on our words like fishing lines and bait.

We dangle them in waters and leave them up to fate,

Saving them from drowning but not from our mistakes.

Our anthem states

'We've boundless plains to share!”,

Yet we just stand motionless, stop, and stare.

Don't worry, don't try to pretend you care,

But consider what would happen if you were the ones there.

There seems to be a line;

A clash or divide.

I want to be on the side

Who doesn't think we should value our pride

Over other human lives.

Because we're just watching while they're dying.

We just shrug and give up trying.

We're ignoring all their crying;

For help,

For the chance to live a life that we were blessed with,

And I think that maybe we're missing the message.

The governments saying we're uneducated;

“We're just kids that could never understand

how to govern a country, how to lead the land”,

And you say put Australia first.

How can we save someone else when we can't save ourselves its all just rehearsed.

You give the same excuses and they're still the worst

And I wonder what would happen if the roles were reversed;

If we were the ones in need,

If we were the ones who bleed,

If we were the ones with too many mouths to feed

If we were the ones who had to  beg on our knees

To survive

I'm asking you please,

Don't give in to greed.

It's time to take heed

Increase the pace and pick up the speed.

We're a long way away but let's plant the seeds,

Because people don't have warranties,

Their lives aren't guaranteed;

Can we make this a priority?

These people have to flee

Their homes to go and plea

To a country that pretends not to see.

What will it take for us to believe?

People don't run away from nothing.

They're not secretly just bluffing.

Their whole lives in plastic bags,

They're just trusting

That we have the basic decency to provide refuge.

Our country is an illusion.

We have not completed our evolution;

If we had, there wouldn't be any confusion

As to what we could do as our contribution.

We've reached no conclusion.

Backing away from any inclusion,

Inevitably falling into seclusion,

We cover it up with our own delusion

That we aren't prepared for this 'intrusion'.

We're given the opportunity to make so many lives so much better.

So don't sever the tethers we have

Because they're the only things holding us together.

Safe is a word, is a feeling, is a right.

A sense of peace, a dewy, foggy morning light.

There is still time for us to rewrite;

We don't have to look back and regret in hindsight.

What matters is you stop acting like actors,

And start acting like adults

(Adults with empathy).

Get over the wall of lies

That you've told yourself.

Drink the antidote to your venom

And say