House debates

Tuesday, 27 October 2020

Statements by Members

Year 12 Students

1:48 pm

Photo of Bill ShortenBill Shorten (Maribyrnong, Australian Labor Party, Shadow Minister for the National Disability Insurance Scheme) Share this | | Hansard source

No politics from me today—just some words to all the year 12 students sitting their final exams. To say it's been an unusual year for this group is an understatement, especially for Melbourne students, including our daughter, Georgette. To all of you: you have this. You are resilient. You've learned what is important and what is not in a once-in-a-generation experience. I'm not going to pretend that this time in your life isn't a big deal and I'm not going to tell you not to worry. Of course you're worried. Of course you feel stressed. You've worked hard to get to this point. You've juggled sport, music, family and friendship alongside the studies. Because of social media, you put up with pressures and distractions that most of us never had to put up with as teenagers. You've made the sacrifices. We respect you.

And your families make sacrifices too. Right now, all around Australia there are mums and dads churning out favourite meals, washing lucky clothes and running the best-organised taxi service you'll ever see. The younger siblings, who spent weeks on their best behaviour keeping quiet when study sessions are underway, doing more than their fair share of the chores, understand that their year 12 brother or sister is the priority. We all feel like we're a part of it—involved and interested. We want to do what we can to help, and it's okay if you tell us to back off, if you roll your eyes and if you leave the room—you can thank us later.

Speaking of the people who you should remember to thank, please thank your favourite teacher for the difference they've made in your life. I promise you that you'll think about them for a lot longer. Finally, the most important message I wanted to pass on today is something you already know: the number you see on your screen in a few weeks does not define you. It does not define you. Good luck and God bless.