House debates

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Constituency Statements

Petrie Electorate: 2011 Petrie Future Leaders Essay and Public Speaking Competition

10:04 am

Photo of Yvette D'AthYvette D'Ath (Petrie, Australian Labor Party) Share this | | Hansard source

It is my pleasure to rise and speak about the 2011 Petrie Future Leaders Essay and Public Speaking Competition. This is a competition that I run each year. This competition is the second time the event has been held. The 2011 competition was launched in March of this year at the Petrie Schools Summit, with the final event being held in July at a gala evening. Entrants to the competition were required to prepare an essay on this topic: 'If you could talk to the Prime Minister, what local or national issue would you discuss?'

There are two categories of entry—primary school students and secondary school students. Primary students were to write no more than 1,000 words and secondary students no more than 1,500 words. From these essays the finalists were selected to give a speech on their essay topic at a gala evening. There were seven entrants this year—four in the primary school category and three in the secondary category. Essay topics ranged from wildlife conservation and the importance of quality teachers and resources to the creation of a small-cap stock exchange to support Australian businesses.

Our youngest entrant this year was Sophie Beddoe. She is in grade 3 and is seven years old. She spoke about the need for improved public transport so that her grandmother could be more independent. Sophie was not only our youngest entrant but was also runner-up in the primary school category. Our runner-up in the secondary school category was Kate Walker, who was our runner-up in the 2009 primary school category, from Clontarf Beach State School. We had two accredited public-speaking adjudicators judging the speeches. Over 60 people attended the gala evening, with all of the students delivering passionate speeches that kept everyone engaged.

In addition to individual trophies for the winners and a perpetual trophy to be held at the winners' schools, the main prize was a trip for the two winners, accompanied by a parent, to Canberra to spend a day behind the scenes. I would like to welcome here today the two winners, Frederique Bloomfield and Sheng Huang, together with Isabelle Bloomfield, Frederique's mother, and also Sheng's mother, Angela. We hope you enjoy your day in Parliament House today. Frederique is 11 years old and in grade 6 at Grace Lutheran Primary School in Clontarf. Frederique won the primary school category talking about the dangers of food additives. Sheng was in our secondary school category and is from St Paul's School at Bald Hill, is in Year 10, is 15 years old and talked about the small cap stock exchange.

It was a great evening with fantastic essays. In conclusion, I acknowledge the Brisbane Airport Corporation for sponsoring the flights for this competition. I hope both students take away from today's visit an enthusiasm to participate in public debate and to ensure that the youth of today have a strong voice. Frederique, Sheng, Isabelle and Angela; welcome to Parliament House.