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In Response To The Prompt: "We're Not Morons": Governments Should Butt Out Of Young People's Lives.

1098 words - 4 pages

Human rights are the basic rights and freedoms to which all humans, teenagers included, are entitled. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights recognises the “equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family”1. In the on-going tug-of-war between adults and adolescents, there exist two opposing attitudes which can be summed up by the typical teenage “Butt out of our lives” and the opposing, paternal view of “We’re limiting your rights for your own good.” It is true that Australian teenagers have rights. These rights should not be trampled. And there are some extremely important rights of which Australian teens have been robbed.Contrary to popular opinion, the rights which we, the teenagers of Australia, are most lacking are not associated with our freedom to drink alcohol. They are not related to internet censorship. They circumvent curfews and P Plate restrictions. They are more important than video game censorship and Alcopop taxes. These essential rights are the Right to Protection, the Right to Education and the Right to Good Role Models in society. Unfortunately, we teenagers often seek to relinquish our Right to be Protected because the government uses that same motive to justify limiting other freedoms of ours. In contrast, our Rights to Education and Good Role Models have been neglected by our somewhat hypocritical culture, which teaches us that binge drinking is acceptable, that following the crowd is paramount, and that we should aspire to such dubious role models as Corey Worthington. Often the very problems which our government tries to fix through freedom-restricting laws are caused by these failures of our society to educate teenage minds beyond the superficialities of peer pressure and alcohol abuse. Authoritarian measures such as Alcopop taxes and alcohol restrictions are bandaids which the government uses to patch up deeper social wounds.The truth is that the laws our government often force upon us, while seemingly harsh and in breach of our rights, actually fulfil our Right to Protection. For example, curfews imposed by the Western Australian government upon young teenagers surely contravene Article 20 of The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which states that “Everyone has the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and association.”2 However, there is never smoke without a fire. The reason such Draconian laws are introduced is because the young people of Australia have pushed the government to these drastic responses. We protest at government interference in our lives, but our stupid mistakes often interfere with the lives of others. For example, in 2008, a drunk and unlicensed 16-year-old ran over a young mother and her two children in a NSW carpark, causing extensive injuries to the children.3 If there were no restrictions on underage drinking or drunk driving, sad incidences such as these would surely increase. The general public often need protection from the...

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