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Indigenous graduate eyes Aust’s top job

Published: 18 Jan 2017

Ethan Taylor
Caption: CIT graduate Ethan Taylor, 17, wants to be Australia's first Aboriginal PM. His CIT achievements mean it's not hard to believe.

CIT graduate Ethan Taylor has set himself a big goal - to earn university degrees in political science and law on his way to becoming Australia's first Aboriginal Prime Minister. It'd be easily to dismiss that as the wild dreams of an ambitious young man - until you realise what Ethan, at just 17 years old, has achieved the past six months.

Since enrolling at CIT in June 2016, Ethan has completed a Certificate IV in Leadership and Management [BSB42015] and a semester of university with Open University Australia studying psychology, mathematics and international relations units. Ethan's CIT studies combined with the four university units gave him the equivalent of a Year 12 Certificate needed to gain entry to the University of Melbourne where he'll study for a Bachelor of Arts degree majoring in political science.

Ethan is a Warumungu man, born in Alice Springs south of Warumungu country, and travelled around as he studied. It was at Geraldton Senior College in WA that Ethan first showed his leadership potential.

Ethan was appointed Head Boy along with Head Girl Sally Hamilton, the school's first Indigenous head student duo. He also ran workshops for year 7-9 Indigenous students to discuss and find the "self-confidence to articulate their feelings about community issues" like racism, family violence and suicide. "They're future leaders, it's important for this next generation to know how to properly express themselves on issues," Ethan said.

In Canberra, as he struggled to finish year 12 via distance education, a cinema advertisement sparked Ethan's interest in enrolling at CIT to finish his secondary studies.

"It's really easy to get involved at CIT. It wasn't hard for me to access staff. It was really accessible, easy to be part of the CIT community. It's quite inclusive. I'm struggling to get loose!" he said.

"Apart from all the extra curricula activities, I loved how when you went into the classroom the lecturers were quite anecdotal," Ethan said of the leadership and management course.

"None of the lecturers ever 'lectured', they were applying the theory," he said. "It was like [the film] Dead Poets Society, not strict, narrow, traditional teaching. It was really engaging … I loved it."

CIT's Yurauna Centre was central to Ethan's academic success. The staff at CIT's dedicated Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander support centre embraced him immediately. "They were like family and incredibly supportive", he said.

Ethan thrived at CIT. In 2016 he was appointed CIT Aboriginal Ambassador, a role he used to encourage other Indigenous students with his passionate advocacy for his community and determination to make his mark in Australia politics.

As he prepares to head to Melbourne, Ethan's already got his eye on studying law once he's finished his undergraduate degree.

"I'm going to be the first Aboriginal Prime Minister," Ethan said confidently. But "I really hope that there has already been one by the time I am old enough and wise enough to assume the position", he added.

Ethan hasn't joined a political party, yet, but a short term goal is seeking election to the student representative council, a solid grounding for entry into politics.

CIT thanks Ethan for his invaluable contribution to student life in 2016 and wish him well for the future. We'll be keenly following this enthusiastic graduate's journey.