Mr Wilson (1:36pm) — I’d like to take issue with the idea that young people are necessarily cynical about politics. I don’t think that’s true, and it shouldn’t be. Kids probably don’t learn about Pericles at primary school these days, which is fine, but it was Pericles who rightly said, ‘Just because you don’t take an interest in politics doesn’t mean politics won’t take an interest in you.’
That is the critical thing. You can choose not to be interested in politics and government, but you can’t choose not to be affected by it. Young people should be active in shaping their future and contributing their ideas and their leadership. Fair enough, there are times when you’d be forgiven for being cynical, but my experience is that young Australians are interested in our democracy and they are engaged with some of the big issues that will determine their future and will determine our future.
In the last couple of months I have sat down with year 4 kids at Beaconsfield Primary School to hear their commitment to stronger ocean protection, and I’ve done my best to answer the hard-hitting questions of the lively year 6 kids at both Hammond Park and Winterfold primary schools. The knowledge and enthusiasm of those students is a credit to them and to their teachers.
Finally, I’d like to give a shout-out to Carol Denny, who teaches politics at Christian Brothers College in Fremantle. Ms Denny’s year 12 students have been in touch with me to say what an inspiration she has been. It’s great that young people benefit from that kind of expertise and enthusiasm from our teachers. It’s lovely to know they recognise it and that they are grateful.