House debates

Monday, 13 November 2023

Statements by Members

Youth Voice in Parliament Week

4:07 pm

Photo of Elizabeth Watson-BrownElizabeth Watson-Brown (Ryan, Australian Greens) Share this | | Hansard source

I'm very proud to deliver this speech by Ryan locals Kerstin, Manling, and Akshara, who are all 15 years old.

'In Australia, we believe that every student deserves the learning resources they need to thrive, but not every student is getting that chance. This is because of the current private-public school gap, which means that public schools are being deprived of adequate funding. Ninety-eight per cent of private schools are funded above the schooling resource standard, and more than 98 per cent of public schools are funded below it, even though the majority of students go to public schools. While private schools are able to afford new buildings and equipment, our school—a public school—couldn't even afford new books for the library last year. The money is going to the wrong place. We need to fix this.'

'We want to see our country give every student the ideal learning environment, an environment that will provide them with ample resources to flourish. If the government funds public schools more, our vision may become a reality. This change will benefit generations of learners to come. By giving every student in Australia equal opportunities, our country will prosper; by ignoring the majority, you are disadvantaging the potential leaders of tomorrow. Every student matters, right? So let's show them that they matter. Thank you.'

4:09 pm

Photo of Susan TemplemanSusan Templeman (Macquarie, Australian Labor Party) Share this | | Hansard source

I'm very pleased to read out part of a speech prepared for the Raise Our Voice competition, written by Cathy Gao from the Hawkesbury, about how to make Australia a better place for future generations. She says:

Imagine a future where all students can apply what they have learned. Many more people can be inventors and scientists, discovering, creating, and using the power of knowledge to fix the huge pile of issues the world is currently facing.

It all starts in the assessment tasks in schools. They need to be more skill based, instead of simply based on testing what people know. We need to teach people to connect and use their knowledge, not just learn it and forget.

Currently, many people study for exams the night before in the hopes of getting high marks, and that's all. People forget what it means to learn, and just do all they can to get better scores.

I am not saying knowledge isn't important. But knowledge by itself is not meaningful unless the person has the skills to interpret and apply it.

I would like it to be mandatory for all assessments to contain a skill based component, which will test the students on the fundamental skills in the subject, and ability to apply their knowledge.

That's what Cathy's written. I want to thank Cathy for her contribution and for thinking through the issues that affect her, and I thank all the other students who submitted speeches for the Raise Our Voice competition. It's a great thing to do, and I look forward to next year's contributions.