FUTURE PM: Ipswich Grammar School student Wyatt Cook-Revell has what it takes to lead the nation one day.
FUTURE PM: Ipswich Grammar School student Wyatt Cook-Revell has what it takes to lead the nation one day. Rob Williams

Our future PM...and he's from Ipswich

IF YOU are looking for an inspirational young Australian to take the nation into a golden era in future years then there is some good news.

We've found him.

Ipswich Grammar School student Wyatt Cook-Revell may just be 17, but when he speaks he sounds like a worldy wise civic leader with decades of experience. It is why good judges are predicting he will be a future prime minister of Australia.

A big call, no doubt. But spend half an hour with the Gatton-raised school prefect and you soon understand why.

Wyatt has a clip on You Tube called "If I were to be prime minister".

Scholarship fund, the Australian Indigenous Education Foundation, ran a competition for scholarship holders to meet the Prime Minister Malcom Turnbull where in three to four minutes they had to outline in a video what kind of national leader they would be.

He was one of the winners and got to meet Mr Turnbull and senior Labor figures Bill Shorten and Tanya Plibersek and other politicians, including several Indigenous MPs and senators.

Wyatt joined the ALP in October of 2014 and is a member of the Raceview Flinders branch which is presided over by Blair MP Shayne Neumann.

He is an executive member of the branch and worked on the successful Ipswich and Ipswich West campaigns of Jennifer Howard and Jim Madden at the last state election, and the recent federal Blair campaign of Mr Neumann's.

HELPER: Ipswich West MP Jim Madden with the Young Labor team including Wyatt Cook-Revell (third from right) after his state election victory.
HELPER: Ipswich West MP Jim Madden with the Young Labor team including Wyatt Cook-Revell (third from right) after his state election victory. Rob Williams

The QT sat down with the young man last week to discuss his aspirations, motivations and views. One shining quality that came through was his honesty. As a proud indigenous Australian, his answers to the QT questions were revelatory.

Firstly: Why did he get involved in politics at such a young age?

THE MOTIVATIONS

"The reason I am so interested in it is because my parents separated when I was six years old so I've had a bit of a split family as such," he says.

"The indigenous side of me comes from my mum Chantal Revell and my dad is a non-indigenous Australian Ben (Cook).

"So the reason I am so interested in politics is because I get to see both sides of the spectrum.

"I am one of the fortunate people that gets to see things from black Australia's view and white Australia's.

"That is really important in politics, that you see two points of opinion and make an educated judgement from there."

The ALP's values sit with his own personal beliefs as a young Indigenous person and as someone who believes that education should be availaible to all.

"That's because of the Labor Party's values of strong social justice, and supporting Indigenous Australians with the 2008 apology to the Stolen Generations," he says.

"Politicians having the courage to say sorry for past mistreatment is something that is lacking today in some respects...admitting you were wrong. There should be more of that.

"I want to be a legal studies teacher after I finish school.

"I was originally set on being a lawyer, but being inspired by so many teachers here at Ipswich Grammar and seeing teachers who are genuinely concerned about you inspired me to become an educator.

"I think it is important everyone has a right to a good education, such as I have been given here through an Australian Indigenous Education Foundation Scholarship.

"So many young Australians don't get the same access to a good education as I have and that is something that we need to look at."

THE BIG ISSUES

"I think my generation is going to be big on three things - technology, the environment and social justice," he says

"As a young person, we rely on technology every day and I rely on my laptop for every subject in school.

"So I think it is important we have a strong National Broadband Network that services the regions especially.

"I've grown up in Gatton, a place where Optus in some places doesn't have phone service.

"A strong environment policy is needed because it is my generation I believe that is going to make progressive change in that area.

"I don't think we are doing enough with the threats of climate change and global warming.

"If we make bold decisions now it can help and advantage future generations."

On the subject of social justice, Wyatt is straight to the point.

"On the subject of marriage equality for example, love is love. Just get over it," he says.

"Let's just do it.

"We also have this constant debate about the Racial Discrimination Act, but this is 21st century Australia and racism has no place in this country.

"No-one should be offended, insulted, humiliated or intimidated because of their race.

"Suggestions we have to get rid of certain words (in the act) are baseless because it comes from people who I don't think have experienced racism in their life.

"I'm a fair skinned Indigenous Australian, and when you are at a conference and you are asked to stand up if you are part of our First Nations people you get the comments like 'what, are you one eighth?'

"That's because the stereoptypical Indigenous Australian is a dark person like my grandmother.

"But what some people think is a 'little comment' is to me a huge comment because so many of my ancestors have made sure I have the opportunities I have today.

"So when we talk about the Racial Discrimination Act and other social justice issues, I think 'leave it as it is'."

Wyatt insists that constitutional recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples needs to happen.

INSPIRATIONS

Ask the teenager who he looks up to, and the role models he pinpoints are close to home - mum Chantal and grandfather Doug Cook of Cook's Transport in Gatton.

THANKS MUM: Wyatt Cook-Revell says his mother Chantal Revell is an inspiration.
THANKS MUM: Wyatt Cook-Revell says his mother Chantal Revell is an inspiration. Contributed

"My mum was born into an Indigenous family and she had split parents like I do," he says.

"She is a single mum of four boys and has been able to provide good education for me here at Ipswich Grammar.

"I have been in private school education all my life and went to Our Lady of Good Counsel Primary School in Gatton from prep to Year Seven, and from Year Eight to now, Year 12, at Ipswich Grammar.

"Mum and I have always had a strong relationship and she makes sure you get the best out of everything.

"If every family in Australia could have a mum like my mum the nation would be well educated.

"She is a teacher aide and works with Indigenous kids at a local high school. She not only has an impact on our family with regards to education, but also on other children as well...and that inspires me.

MENTOR: Wyatt Cook-Revell (right) with his grandfather Doug Cook.
MENTOR: Wyatt Cook-Revell (right) with his grandfather Doug Cook. Contributed

"My pop started a family business in 1977 and is the typical Aussie battler in many respects.

"He is a father of seven children and one of those good male role models who is always there for everyone at any time if you need anything.

"Loyalty is a big thing for him, and that has come through to me...to be a loyal person whether it be to your school, your employer or your friends."

PM ASPIRATIONS

Cr Paul Tully is a psephologist, a student of elections, and has a well regarded reputation for tipping the outcome of elections, often to the very seat.

So when he says that Wyatt, a young man he knows well through his own family involvement with Ipswich Grammar School, is bound for the top job at Canberra you sit up and listen.

"Wyatt is young, energetic, enthusiastic and even at 17 he knows detailed meeting procedures including parliamentary procedures," Cr Tully says.

"He is an avid reasearcher and has a single community focus.

"He wants to lead Australia and I predict that he will. Provided everything falls into place, he will be a future Prime Minister.

"Right now, there are two or three people not in parliament yet who will be a future Prime Minister, and no-one knows who they might be.

"But I think Wyatt will get into parliament, he will do well and will be the first Prime Minister who has gone to Ipwich Grammar School.

"He has well informed views on technology, education, social justice and a whole range of social issues. He fits the bill to lead our nation in the next 20 years or so."

The QT asked Wyatt if he wanted to be the nations's first Indigenous Prime Minister, and his answer revealed what a deep thinker he is.

"I don't want to be the first Indigenous Prime Minister, because if we as a country are waiting another 25-plus years for me to come along and be the first Indigenous Prime Minister then we have got a problem," he says.

"Because that is a very long time.

"If we are going to make some real change in Indigenous affairs we need an Indigenous Prime Minister, but I hope that happens before I even try or think about going into politics.

"Public service is definitely an aspiration of mine. I love politics.

"But the suggestion that I want to be the first would be selfish of me. If I ever get there I hope I am not the first.

"I am already in politics and helping where I can. I have a quiet aspiration to be Prime Minister I guess. It obviously takes a lot of work to get there.

"But if it means Indigenous people are further represented in this country, then I am willing to say that I want to be Prime Minister."

Often politics can become all about the back-room machinations and almost a dark art. But for Wyatt the word 'politics' is more about the issues that are important to people and their lives.

"I think we need to go back to what the person wants and talk about services that directly affect people, so good education, good health and employment. I've been brought up on those values and I want to keep going with them."

THE SCHOOL

Our environment shapes us all, and in Wyatt's case he insists he is fortunate to be at a school which brings out the best in all.

"The support of Ipswich Grammar has been absolutely brilliant. Undeniably, I think it is the best school in Queensland, if not Australia," the school's drama captain says.

"When we were looking for high schools to go to, we went to Nudgee and Downlands and a lot of GPS schools...and the feeling you get when you walk into this place is like no other.

"The sense of community here and excellent support from teaching staff has been amazing."

Drama is an area where Wyatt excels, and he had a key role in the school production of the Addams Family recently.

THEATRICAL: The Addams Family musical at the Ipswich Civic Centre featured Wyatt Cook-Revell playing Uncle Fester.
THEATRICAL: The Addams Family musical at the Ipswich Civic Centre featured Wyatt Cook-Revell playing Uncle Fester. David Nielsen

"I played Uncle Fester," he grins.

"I quite enjoyed that role. It came naturally actually. I just had to get rid of the hair."

MEETING THE PM

Wyatt's trip to Canberra last year included meeting the PM, an experience he will never forget and one that he utilised to make a suggestion which was well received.

TEA WITH MAL: Wyatt Cook-Revell (right) got to meet Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and shared a cuppa and a chat on the big issues.
TEA WITH MAL: Wyatt Cook-Revell (right) got to meet Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and shared a cuppa and a chat on the big issues. Contributed

"The PM bought me a cup of tea, which was a highlight...having tea in the Prime Minister's office," he says

"Meeting the Prime Minister, no matter what side of politics they are on, is a big thing.

"We talked about where we were going with uni' and he gave us some advice on future life.

"I did raise the issue of increasing Indigenous representation in parliament.

"Indigenous people make up three per cent of the country so theoretically they should make up three per cent of the parliament, but that is not the case at the moment.

"He was very open to that and said it should be up to the independent political parties to put in measures to improve that representation, and I was happy with that answer."

HEADMASTER'S VIEW

Ipswich Grammar School Headmaster Richard Morrison says it is an absolute joy to have Wyatt at the school, and highlights the personal growth he has seen in the Year 12 student in recent years.

"Wyatt brings a diverse range of opinions and has an Indigenous point of view which is very healthy for our school," Mr Morrison says

"He is a character, and a boy who has almost reinvented himself.

"He was a bit of a scallywag in Year Nine and probably underperformed.

"Now he is a really strong performer and a prefect...because he has demonstrated this growth curve in maturity and impact.

"We are prep to Year 12, and the little boys really look up to him.

AT HOME: Ipswich Grammar School student Wyatt Cook-Revell is looking towards a career in politics.
AT HOME: Ipswich Grammar School student Wyatt Cook-Revell is looking towards a career in politics. Rob Williams

"It is pretty powerful for five, six and seven-year-old boys to be amongst young people like Wyatt and listen to him speak on assembly and play handball with him. There is a lot of powerful nurturing and learning in that, and Wyatt is a really good role model.

"He is a real human being and has a nice sense of humour, and as a boarder a great example of how boarding can contribute to the growth of a young man. He is in a tight boarding house and those guys are like brothers and really look after each other.

"Wyatt is a living, breathing example of the sorts of things that happen in this school around opportunity in terms of his growth and development and the impact he has on others.

"The other thing about Wyatt is that he is not a show pony."

So what does Mr Morrison make of Cr Tully's prediction?

"Far be it for me to contradict Cr Tully's ideas," he grins

"I could see it. I could absolutely see it. Wyatt is really determined.

"He is passionate and he has got strong beliefs, and they are genuine beliefs.

"He engages people.

"I think he would be a decent politician.

"He'd be real, and genuine. And I think Australians are ready for politicians like that. He's the real deal."


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