Leadership and advocacy

09 February 2024

For many people, being a leader or an advocate for change can be a daunting concept. Our upcoming video series ‘Leadership and advocacy’ explores the journeys of some of our Members of Parliament, as well as two youth advocates, Danny and Daizy. The series explores what they do, how they engage with people and what they've learnt along the way. In this post, Danny and Daizy reflect on their journey and the importance of the work they do.

At the end of 2023, we interviewed some Members of Parliament to learn more about their role as leaders in the community and their experiences with advocacy work, before they were elected and since joining parliament. The members spoke about some of the challenges they have faced, what they have learnt and provided advice for young people who are pursuing  advocacy work and leadership opportunities.

Joining our Members of Parliament, were two young leaders, Daizy and Danny, who spoke about their journey, experiences and challenges with their advocacy work. Below is some more information about Daizy's and Danny's work and what they are hoping to achieve in their roles.


Daizy, Co-founder of Australian South Asian Center (ASAC)

Daizy is the co-founder of an organisation called Australian South Asian Center (ASAC), which focuses on amplifying the voices of South Asian women who are creatives, activists and professionals.

Daizy was inspired to start ASAC after travelling to the United Kingdom and being exposed to a thriving community of artists, creatives, entrepreneurs and professionals who were all women of colour, something she felt we were lacking in Australia. Daizy wanted to create a similar community in Australia that had a focus on social justice, was inclusive, would amplify the work and values of those involved, and would ensure greater youth diversity in the creative, entrepreneur and professional space. And as a result, ASAC was born.

ASAC has been in operation for three years, and in addition to providing opportunities for women to connect and further their work, it also produces a range of creative experiences, such as comedy shows and awards. Brown Women in Comedy focuses on bringing together South Asian Women comedians (who are under-represented in international comedy festivals) to talk about things that are usually taboo in their cultures. In 2023, Brown Women in Comedy performed at Melbourne International Comedy festival, with over 600 people attending their shows, and in 2024 they have plans for a national tour.

The award series, Stella, focuses on finding and recognising positive role models in the community, helping to  amplify women who are making a difference in their respective fields, contributing to the community and mentoring young people. During COVID, Daizy also set up a South Asian Wellness Center known as Soul House. Soul House provided short-term respite stays to women who were experiencing domestic violence at home but were not seeking some short-term relief that they would usually get from going to work or school.

Daizy’s work through ASAC was not her first experience with leadership and advocacy, she has been involved in a range of advocacy projects over the past 8 years. Daizy managed SPARK, Deakin's entrepreneurship program, where she advocated for more diverse people being involved in the projects and ensuring inclusivity for international students. She has also been the chair of Bendigo Community Bank's youth advisory committee.  

        'Find some like-minded people. They don't have to be from your school or your university. Find them outside - get involved in all sorts of organizations. So, find your tribe and start taking those steps. Don't worry about what other people are going to say because you're going to outgrow those other people. Making a difference leads to a very purposeful life.' - Daizy


Danny, Disability advocacy

Danny has had a long history of involvement in disability advocacy. Danny first became involved in advocacy at the age of 10, when his mother, who was the head of a national body for people with disabilities, asked him if he wanted to be involved in raising awareness about issues that people with disability experience and advocating for their rights. He responded 'sure, why not' and this has led to a range of public speaking engagements, which makes up around 90% of the advocacy work that he does.

Danny has spoken at various events, schools, and press conferences, completed a range of media interviews, advocated for disability rights at parliamentary inquiries and has even spoke at the United Nations in New York in 2023. Whilst Danny found speaking at the United Nations ‘terrifying’, he knew how important his message was in helping to overcome the entrenched and negative views about people with a disability in society. Being involved with the United Nations gave him and opportunity to hear about and see what other countries are doing about the rights of people with disabilities, and identify areas where Australia could improve.

Danny has also being involved in the co-design of an National Youth Summit program at federal parliament. This event brought together, in Canberra, a group of young people with disabilities to talk about key issues they were facing. The summit also included a number of keynote speakers that Danny helped to organise.

In the early days of Danny’s work as a disability advocate, the Labor Government was advocating for the National Disability Insurance Scheme – something Disability Australia felt strongly about, and Danny said he felt a real sense of accomplishment when it was finally rolled out.  

Despite all the success Danny has had with disability advocacy in the last 15 years, he continues to find that the biggest challenge is the negative attitudes in society about disability, what people with disabilities can contribute and how they can participate. In his words “it is not less ability, it’s just different ability”.

        'Be willing to speak up for what you think is right. There are lots of injustices happening all over the world right now, but your voice can make a difference. Let others know that something needs to be changed for the better and it is possible to make those changes.' - Danny