House debates

Thursday, 16 August 2007


Box Hill North Primary School; Kerrimuir Primary School

12:08 pm

Photo of Ms Anna BurkeMs Anna Burke (Chisholm, Australian Labor Party) Share this | | Hansard source

The other day I had the absolute delight and pleasure to visit the students in grades 5 and 6 at Box Hill North Primary School to talk about my role as a member of parliament. The students in grade 6 have all written back to me, and I would like to share with you some of the views of our next crop of leaders in this world:

Dear Anna Burke,

Thank you for being able to come to our school on Monday. We learnt a lot about government, politics, your job and your leadership skills.

I was surprised that you were so relaxed in every day life most of the time. A job as a politician seems tiring and difficult with all the travelling you have to do and the hours you work every day. We learnt that with politics, you don’t have to have any special qualifications, you just need to be elected into parliament. We also learnt that if you lost your seat in parliament, you could be out of a job as Federal Member for Chisholm.

We can relate your leadership skills to being a leader at our school. With my leadership role, I help check the weekly school newsletter for mistakes and deliver notices around the school. Thanks for teaching us more about politics and giving up your time to be able to speak to us. Yours sincerely, Benjamin

I can attest to Benjamin’s fantastic spelling and incredibly neat handwriting. He must do a great job as the checker of his school newsletter. Then there is this:

Dear Anna,

Thank-you so much for coming to our school. It was interesting to hear about your experiences as a politician and what you do every day.

It was good to talk to a real politician since our inquiry topic is government and was good to learn about a politicians life, and duties.

You are a great leader and I learnt a lot about being confident and being yourself. I will try and use some of these skills with my leadership role, being school captain.

You are so lucky to be able to have a say in what happens in Australia. I would love that. Thanks again. You were great, hope to see you soon.


There is also this:

To Anna,

Thank-you very much for coming to our school and sharing about what you do as a politician. We really appreciate that you gave up your time to come and visit us.

I learnt lots of things such as you represent Chisholm. You are much different than I thought because you are a happy and cheerful person to have around. I expected you to be a lot more serious. I also learnt that you represent the Labor Party.

Listening to you was very interesting because you used lots of expression and you spoke very clearly. I think you are a great speaker. Being House Captain it was a good experience to listen to a great leader.

Once again thank-you very much for coming.

From Eliza.

This is another letter:

Dear Anna,

Thanks a lot for coming. It might have caused some trouble in your daily schedule, seeing that you have got a lot to get through in one day.

I have two questions to ask. How many schools do you usually visit in a week. How many people have a federal seat of Chisholm or is it the 150?

I am not sure I got myself clear on that one, but anyway we will go back and answer his question. He writes:

At our school we (the grade 6’s) all have a role. Mine’s Technology captain with my friend Ken. I have learned to confident and try every option, instead of trying the most likely. We all learnt something. I didn’t think politics had to get through so much in a day. I also didn’t know they had to get someone to organise their diary.

Life as a politician must be almost as hard as running an auction. (My mum runs one and she is mad now) Thanks again for coming. We appreciated it and we were intrigued by your experiences.


I hope Ben hasn’t shown this to his mum. This is another:

Dear Anna ...,

It was an honour to have you visit our school to educate us about the life of a politician during your busy timetable. It is such a rare occasion to have a federal member of parliament visit our school and talk about what they do for a living.

At B.H.N.P.S.—

Box Hill North Primary School—

since year 6s are almost EXTINCT, every single year 6 gets a ‘leadership role’, and I’m the ART CAPTAIN! You inspired me, along with everybody else (especially year 6s) on what a good leader is all about. I’m sure that all those leadership qualities you passed on will come in handy a lot as art captain and in the future ...

Once again, we thank you so much for coming and sharing, and we wish that you shall never quit (until you decide to retire a long way down the track) or lose an election! (10 years sleep surely can’t be too good for you!)

Kindest Regards,


I have another one here. It is from Pat, who also drew me a fantastic picture of myself, which you can’t really appreciate.

Photo of Andrew SouthcottAndrew Southcott (Boothby, Liberal Party) Share this | | Hansard source

Dr Southcott interjecting

Photo of Ms Anna BurkeMs Anna Burke (Chisholm, Australian Labor Party) Share this | | Hansard source

It is a very good likeness. She took a lot of effort to do that. She says:

Dear Anna ...

How are you? We are fine. Thank you very much for coming to our school, sharing about you, making time with us, giving lots of information about you. And book marks, books for us. Also be nice to us too. I hope you have a good time every days. Bye Bye

From Pat.

On and on the letters go. The grade sixers put a lot of time and effort into doing this and into writing back to me. I also want to commend the teachers in our state system for doing such a fantastic job and for educating the next generation about government and politics. We witness so many people going into polling booths who actually do not understand the system of government. So to actually educate people at a young age about how the system works and what the levels of government are and to demonstrate that politicians are human beings—that they are accessible and that it is our job to be there—is a delightful experience. I really enjoyed my day at the school and want to thank the students so much for their fantastic letters.

I also want to thank the very cheeky Prep C children at Kerrimuir Primary School. Kerrimuir Primary School is having a competition to create the best garden area. Each grade is in the competition and Prep C has had the brains and the wit to send me a fantastic poster asking if I will help in their endeavours to create the best garden plot at Kerrimuir. I think this is a terrific idea, and I really want to commend this school. (Time expired)