Our local schools


It's a pleasure to be in the Federation Chamber and I want to thank the member for Parkes for giving a shout-out to those two young people. The Federation Chamber is a really pleasant place to walk into. It's pleasant to come in and find the Minister for Education promoting multiculturalism and sharing or to listen to the member for Parkes talk about shearing. The member for Parkes might be interested to know that my dad was a shearer for part of his life, so it's something I know a fair bit about.

The reason I like to come in here and hear those positive stories, such as the one the member for Parkes referenced, is that I'm here to tell a really positive story. I had an opportunity in the last week at home to visit two primary schools in my electorate—Westgrove Primary School and the brand-new Lollypop Creek Primary School—to talk to students about our democracy. In Victoria they're studying civics and citizenship at this time of year, and it's always a pleasure to join our young people and their teachers as a guest in classrooms to talk about our parliament and our role. I want to point out to people that the new Minister for Education, my friend the member for Blaxland, is here to hear about these young people. When I spoke to the grade 4s at Westgrove, they asked me what my role is. I told them it's to tell their story in the parliament, so that the 150 other members around the country understand us and understand our challenges and our opportunities. I was able to tell them that the Minister for Education had been to our electorate and talked to teachers in my community about the young people. I want to share two of the things that they raised with me.

When I asked these grade 4s what the issues were in their homes, to a child, they had a story about scams. The Minister for Communications is here. The grade 4s all had a story about their parents being hacked or their phones being hacked. They all had a story about a scam, and they wanted me to bring that to the parliament and ensure that everybody knows that that's the case. These young people also understand the challenges of inflation. I checked this when I was talking to the Lollypop Creek grade 5s and 6s. They too understood that prices are going up and they understood the pressures on families. I bring that back to this Chamber to share with those here that young people in my community understand the challenges that their families are facing. It was no surprise that, in my community, they also understood the challenges of wages growth. It was fascinating to have a conversation with grade 5s and 6s about the balance between inflation and wages growth and about the fact that wages had been kept low for such a long time. These young people could tell me stories about the last time their parents had a pay rise. One of the children from grade 6 was able to tell me that their parents got a pay rise since we came to government.

Minister for Education, the children in my electorate are interested in politics, they're interested in what happens here and they're interested in how we go about our business.

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