Ku-ring-gai Primary Schools Leaders Parliament House Visit

10 November 2015

Mr ALISTER HENSKENS (Ku-ring-gai) [12.57 p.m.]: On Wednesday last week I was delighted to host a morning tea at Parliament House for the year 6 leaders of the primary schools in Ku-ring-gai. The leaders were accompanied by some parents and teachers. As a new member of Parliament, it was great for me to take a fresh initiative and host an event of this kind for the primary schools in the Ku-ring-gai electorate. I hope that the young women and men found it to be an interesting and rewarding experience. The morning tea was very non-political and I gave each of the young leaders a certificate to remember the occasion. I reminded them that not everyone is given a position of leadership in their primary schools and that they should be proud of the confidence others have placed in them.

I expressed the view that some people are natural leaders, but most people—and I include myself in this—have learnt leadership by trial and error. The young men and women appeared to have enjoyed their year of leadership. They have learned ways of getting on with other people and motivating others to work in a team under their leadership. There can be great personal satisfaction from being a leader, particularly when a strategy is set and implemented to reach certain goals. I told them that although there was still much to learn, they were probably well on the way to becoming lifelong leaders. Our society needs good leaders.

Too many people in our society want to follow someone else rather than lead. Being an independent, thoughtful person who makes up his or her mind on what is the right thing to do in any situation is what our community needs from its citizens. If our young people learn that, they will quickly stand out as a leader. I also told our young leaders to be well rounded, to keep working steadily on their schoolwork and to be involved in other activities such as sport, music, drama, art, debating, chess and the like. After I delivered a speech I answered some questions from the school leaders. If in some small way I encouraged our local young men and women to be good leaders in our community in the years ahead it will have been very worthwhile to have hosted them at Parliament House last week.

In alphabetical order of the schools that attended, I was joined last week by Madeleine McDonell and Shaniece Antoon as well as their headmistress, Sally Rushton, from the Abbotsleigh junior school; Sachin Sirkari and Sophie Thomas from the Beaumont Road Public School; Eleanor Wheatley and Will Blackburn from the Gordon West Public School; Caitlin Blandford and Harry Martyn from the Killara Public School; Thomas Osborne and Matthew Taylor from the Knox Grammar Preparatory School; Isabella Leonardi and Paris Redenbach of Loreto at Normanhurst; Jessie Dyer and William Jovanovic of the Normanhurst Public School; Caimin Conroy of the Our Lady of Perpetual Succour School; Erin Longney and Charlotte Landers of the Our Lady of the Rosary Primary School; and Zara Oong and Daniel Brading of the Prouille Catholic Primary School.

I was also joined by Eloise Jones and William Feather, together with principal Bruno Diodati, of the Pymble Public School; Ashley Halfpenny and Sophie Burke, together with their headmistress, Cheryl Bailey, of the Ravenswood School for Girls; Hamish Lapsley and Nina Kesby of the Turramurra North Public School; Brieanna Astrom and Luke DuPreez of the Turramurra Public School; Alexander Bugg and Zach Goodacre, with their teacher, Fiona Russell, of the Wahroonga Adventist School; Clairessa Ng and Jaiden Brocklebank of the Wahroonga Preparatory School; Peyton Henderson and Aaron Kerr of the Wahroonga Public School; Druv Hariharan and Courtney Wilkinson, with principal Julie Webber, of the Waitara Public School; Phoebe Lakenby, with Rudy Harricks from the Warrawee Public School; and Madeline Mamas and Jack Day from the West Pymble Public School.

The young leaders were taken on a tour of Parliament by our outstanding parliamentary guides. Peter Tuziak has conducted many hundreds of such tours and brings his own special style to the tours to bring them to life. Peter had some of the students role-play in the Legislative Assembly Chamber. They played the roles of the Speaker, the Premier, the Leader of the Opposition, the Clerk and the Serjeant-at-Arms, who paraded into the Chamber with a replica mace to begin the parliamentary proceedings. The questions asked of Peter showed that the students took a great interest in the way our State runs and the rich history behind our Parliament.

The tour then continued to the upper House, the Legislative Council, where the guide, Charles Barden, instilled his knowledge of the significance and operation of that place. The children were informed about the significance of the different colours of the two Chambers and the genesis of that part of our parliamentary building. I thank both Peter and Charles for their insightful tours. I know from having spoken to the children, teachers and parents afterwards that they got a lot out of the tours. I thank everybody involved in making the visit a success.