BLOG: MTV Movement’s Olly Tripodi wraps up his time as our millennial leader
As I sit in my favourite café near my house in Melbourne (smashed avocado on the way!) it’s hard to believe that my stint as Millennial Leader has come to an end. When I think back over the last 10 months – from the day I made the video for my application, until right now, it certainly does feel like I’ve squeezed a lot in. The experience has been better and more formative than I could have possibly imagined.
And my expectations were bloody high. When I first heard about MOVEMENT I got so excited – not just because this could be great for one Olly Tripodi, but because I hadn’t heard of anything that could match the breadth of this campaign. MOVEMENT seemed to reach across all the issues I cared about, which was demonstrated by the partner organizations it had matched with and the phenomenal array of Australian’s that have constituted the Brain’s Trust.
I cajoled my good friend and young film-maker, Kieran Ploss in to helping me shoot my application video, which ended up looking fantastic. I ran a social media campaign (supported by my overly proud parents and their emailing lists). I remember receiving the call from MTV to tell me that I had won the competition; unwisely I had taken the call in silent section of my university’s library, so I kept my celebrations very quiet and very enthusiastic.
For me, the experience of MOVEMENT was always about reinforcing and advocating for a reality I have long known to be true: that young people care about a lot of things. I made that my focus of my early campaign, and clearly it resonated with other young people who are tired of being called lazy and entitled.
Meeting members of the Brains Trust was an electrifying experience. I met with 12 incredible Australians who are already commanding leaders in their fields, and I had a full hour with them. I took something from every meeting, but most memorable were my meetings with Jamila Rizvi and Jane Caro, who, surprisingly, had similar messages about success, resilience and hard work. Both remarkable and effective campaigners for women’s rights, I left both those meetings with a better understanding of what role I and other young feminists can play in the plight for gender equality in Australia.
I had an incredible week in Canberra meeting with politicians, the media and lobbyists in Australia’s legislative hub in Parliament House. It’s not an exaggeration to say that every meeting I had that week was fascinating. In particular, an afternoon with the team at SKY News was an elucidating insight in to how the media report on political issues as they unfold; a truly 24 hour media cycle. Similarly, I spoke with Phillip Ruddock, the father of the House of Representatives who has been in Australian Parliament since 1973.
But my most valuable meeting was a morning I spent shadowing the Member for Longman, Wyatt Roy, who is two years my senior. In the space of two hours, Wyatt took a meeting with several senior staff from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, showed me around Parliament House and talked me about the nature of balancing the social life with politics. I was absolutely fascinated. I’m passionately in love with representing young people and advocating for their beliefs, but I also love the flexibility of being young and living in a share house; travelling when I can get time off work and generally ducking any responsibility that I think can wait for a few more years. Wyatt was elected at 19! He was kind, charismatic and whip smart – I was impressed, and a learned about what it takes to be part of change.
If I reflect back on the past 10 months, it is hard to identify a single moment that shines out to me as a highlight. I’ve truly loved the experience, and my sincere hope is that I have value added to the debate for young people in Australia. From the get go, the aim of MOVEMENT has been incredibly ambitious; to engage young people in the political and current affairs debate in Australia. To talk about the issues that young people care about, and for me as a representative of young people to stand up for youth issues. I’ve done my absolute best, and am brimming with optimism about the future of young people.
So that’s all from me! On a personal note, many thanks to all those who have supported me over the last year, and for all those who voted for me and got behind MOVEMENT. This wouldn’t have been possible if MTV and the Museum of Australian Democracy hadn’t backed a good cause to begin with. Thanks again, and I am sure I will see you all soon in some shape or form.