When asked what piece of advice has stuck with him the most, Benson recalls a conversation with his most-valued mentor – his father.
“Dad said to me ‘never think the world is not yours’. I come back to this again and again. This idea of don’t think the world is not yours because of your skin colour, because of your culture, because of your background, because of your upbringing.”
He adds, “I don’t exist in two worlds, I don’t leave my culture at home when I put on my suit and become Benson the consul-general – it’s a part of me. Unique perspectives actually add to the whole, everyone has a legitimate right to have a seat at the table.”
Speaking on what his appointment as a consul-general means for his community and future generations of young Aboriginal people, Benson says he hopes it will set a precedent.
“It’s the notion of ‘you can’t be what you can’t see’. Having this opportunity makes the impossible more possible for those sitting in classrooms across the country thinking about their futures.”
Benson is set to leave for the United States in late-December before taking up his post in Houston, Texas in early January.
As for the future, Benson says his immediate attention is focused on the move, but that the next three years will be focused on improving Australia’s diplomatic relationships with one of our biggest trade partners.
However, Benson says a foray into politics isn’t completely out of the question, a fact that was met with an embarrassing amount of enthusiasm from this interviewer, who may have prematurely offered an endorsement of Benson for Prime Minister, to which he responded: “unfortunately it’s not that simple, but we’ll see what happens.”