On Saturday the 8th of April, I co-hosted Saturday Magazine on Joy 94.9FM with David McCarthy. Over the course of two hours we discussed a variety of issues, including the latest news in American and Australian politics, trends in education, youth homelessness and support for LGBTQ youth and the trials and tribulations of the AOC election.
A particular highlight was to catch up with good friend and former schoolmate, Paul Millar, who’s now based in Pnomh Penh in Cambodia writing for a local magazine.
You can listen to a variety of our conversations here:
This blog post is part of a series related to the SBS documentary Testing Teachers. To find out more about Testing Teachers click here.
I was born in August of 1991. Plenty was happening in the world then, much as it is now. Countries were in the throes of political crises, new technological innovations were challenging the old ways of doing things and The Simpsons were on our TV screens. Unlike now, however, in 1991 Australia was emerging from the depths of a bitter recession, dubbed by our then Prime Minister Paul Keating as one the nation ‘had to have’.
In the prevailing 26 years or so, Australia has been the economic envy of most of the developed world for our unimpeded economic growth and ability to weather events such as the Global Financial Crisis. Despite this being a source of pride for our country, and at that top of any talking points from our treasurers (starting with likes of Paul Keating and Peter Costello and continuing today with Scott Morrison), it is readily apparent that not all Australians have prospered equally. While there are many ways we can measure inequality in our society, one of the most evident means is to see the disparity, in educational opportunities for Australia’s children.
It was a great experience to again run the Year 7 Mock Election at Portland Secondary College. After the success of the initiative in 2014, the school collaborated to run the program again with a more rigorous approach to teaching the students about civics and citizenship.
Following on the from the success of welcoming former Premier Denis Napthine MP to Portland Secondary College in 2014, Dan Tehan MP for Wannon was invited to participate in a forum with the Senior Student Leadership Team and members of the Student Representative Council at PSC in August of 2015.
The Portland Observer and Guardian noted the substance of the students questions and praised their interest in connecting with their political leaders.
Too often, today’s youth is derided for being disengaged with the Australian political experience. For many, there is a clear lack of awareness, knowledge and regard for our democratic institutions and leaders, and this can only serve to hamper their ability to engage with others about the key issues of the day.
In line with my long-standing interest in politics and passion for getting young people more involved in the political process, it was with optimism that I reached out to Premier Denis Napthine to come visit my school, Portland Secondary College, for a forum with our student leaders.
Portland Secondary College students Jack Gibbons (left), 17, Molly Dixon, 17, and Bobby Hodgetts, 17, get an opportunity to ask questions of Premier Denis Napthine during a visit to the school.
In late August, after an invitation earlier in the year, Premier of Victoria, Denis Napthine MP, sat down with school leaders of Portland Secondary College to talk politics and leadership in the lead-up to November’s state election.
The event was featured in The Portland Observer and The Warrnambool Standard, and was praised for the maturity of discussion between Premier and students. In discussion with journalists, I said “It was great that the Premier could take part given his busy schedule. Not every voter can ask the leader of the state why they should vote for him or her, so it was a historic opportunity.”