Wednesday, 27 November 2019
Forde Electorate: Windaroo Valley State High School
As we would all know in this place, recently we marked, on 11 November, Remembrance Day to commemorate and remember all the Australians who have fought in wars and who have made the ultimate sacrifice to protect our nation.
I'd like to take this opportunity to recognise some wonderful young stalwarts at a local high school in the electorate of Forde who have set about to inspire and instil national pride and respect for our country amongst their peers. Recently, the boys' leadership group at Windaroo Valley State High School, headed by year 11 leaders Thomas Gore and Tim Pouncey, volunteered to take on the daily flag duties for the school, enlisting the help of their teacher Stephen Thrum to begin their civic work. Mr Thrum taught the students proper Australian national flag protocols and, more importantly, that they were not just flags, but symbols of our collective identity and the pride of our heritage that capture our nation's past, present and future.
Patriotism and inspiring love for our country in others is something I deeply believe in and care about. Australia is a country that has enormous opportunity, and it always will. Our history is complicated, and our future may seem uncertain at times; but whenever we see our flags flown on flagpoles around the country, we should all feel a strong sense of pride. More importantly, we should feel a strong sense of pride when we see our young men and women so engaged in ensuring that our flags are flown properly to reflect the heritage of our country.
With the aspiration to create a legacy for future students to follow, at Windaroo Valley State High School the senior leaders began to make plans and undertook to make a roster to delegate the daily responsibilities for raising and lowering the school's flags. Once their plan was finalised, the students approached the school principal, Mrs Tracey Hopper, to set the wheels in motion and begin their civic work of raising and lowering the flags at the front of their school at the beginning and end of each and every day. I'm told there is now a full roster in place—all done by the students—to allocate flag duties. I'd like to recognise the students at Windaroo Valley State High School who have volunteered to take part in this initiative and carry out the flag duties with pride and dignity alongside their school leaders. I'd like to extend my sincerest appreciation to Lincoln Baldwin, James Biddell, Tommas-John Hayne, Deshan Wong, Zack Bolton, Jesse Pouncey, Damon Allan, Ruben O'Donnell, Cye Ormsby, Tyson Ruddock and Jackson Ryan. Thank you to all of you for taking pride in our country and all that it represents.
I was honoured to visit Windaroo Valley State High School recently and, with the support of these students and their initiative, I presented three new flags to fly on those flagpoles to help uphold our national values. While I was there we chatted about the history of our flag, its relevance in today's society and the role it will play in the years and decades to come. I was sincerely moved to witness the deep appreciation these students have for our country, and the Australian values and way of life that our diggers fought for and made the ultimate sacrifice for. Today, we get to stand proud of everything our nation has achieved and the ideals—freedom and dignity for the individual, bravery, equality and mateship—we've instilled in each passing generation. All of these are symbolised in our flags. These are incredible virtues which I believe it is our country's responsibility to uphold for all of us as citizens of this great nation.
I also had the pleasure of hearing Mr Thrum speak about his personal connection to our national flag and hearing stories about his relatives, including Edward James Thrum, who perished on the beach at Gallipoli in the original landing on 25 April 1915, and his grandfather who volunteered as one of the Anzacs of Arkhangel to fight in Russia 100 years ago in 1919. We also spoke of that historic moment when Olympic sprinter Cathy Freeman draped the Aboriginal flag over her shoulders and then enveloped it with the national flag when she became the first Aboriginal Australian to win an individual Olympic gold medal at the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney.
This sends the strong message of how we should all take the opportunity to be proud of our nation's history, both Indigenous and European, but also our modern national identity. And I want to congratulate all the students at Windaroo Valley State High School for the work they are undertaking to preserve those values. (Time expired)