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Standing Committee on Indigenous Affairs
Educational opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students
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Standing Committee on Indigenous Affairs
Neumann, Shayne, MP
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Standing Committee on Indigenous Affairs
(House of Reps-Monday, 21 March 2016)
ACTING CHAIR (Ms Claydon)
- Mrs Chambers
Content WindowStanding Committee on Indigenous Affairs
Educational opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students
BARWICK, Ms Chloe, Student teacher, University of Newcastle
James, Student teacher, University of Newcastle
JOHNSON, Ms Lauren, Student teacher, University of Newcastle
McNEILL, Ms Samantha, Student teacher, University of Newcastle
MILLGATE, Mr Nigel, Student teacher, University of Newcastle
NEAN, Ms Kyara, Student teacher, University of Newcastle
ACTING CHAIR: I welcome you all, as student teachers from the University of Newcastle, to the second of our two public roundtable discussions this morning. We just had a discussion with some of the people doing teacher training here, so it is terrific to hear from you as student teachers.
I suspect you may not have been here for the previous discussions, so I want to make sure you fully understand that we are being recorded. This is an audio recording and it is being broadcast on the internet. You will subsequently get a transcript of anything that is recorded, about 10 days after we finish up today. You will have an opportunity to make corrections to the transcript if you think we have not captured your words correctly. You will have opportunities to correct the record if need be.
It is great to have you here and thank you for giving evidence today. Does anyone want to make some opening comments? There is not always a rush to be the first person to kick proceedings off, but hopefully there will be a brave soul among you. This discussion can be as free flowing as you want it to be.
You may well have read the terms of reference for the committee but I should just reflect on those for a moment. The aim of today's discussions is to help us, as a committee, deliberate about the status of Indigenous education in Australia. There are no areas barred; we are looking at early childhood, primary, secondary and higher education. Feel free to comment on any of those. We are really interested in what is working, in your experience. If you have come across good examples in education we would love to hear about those, but also, importantly, about the things that you think are obstacles or barriers or about experiences you have had that you hope no other student ever has. Feel free also to discuss those things. It is a very open discussion, so feel free. Nigel, you are looking like you are ready to start, so I am going to name you.
Mr Millgate : I am proud Ngemba man who comes from Dubbo originally. My family originate from the Brewarrina and Byrock areas out in western New South Wales. I am a mature age student. I am 30 this year. I am a second year health and physical education teacher. My experience so far with university and The Wollotuka Institute here in Newcastle has been amazing actually. Moving forward now, into my second year, the one concern that I have is that last year we had a program called the ITAS, which was a mentoring and tutoring program, and it has now been scrapped.
ACTING CHAIR: Can you tell us a bit about that?
Mr Millgate : I do not know the full story. I just know that funding for that program has been wiped or scrapped.
Mr NEUMANN: Yes. The government abolished it as part of the Indigenous Advancement Strategy.
Mr Millgate : I see that as a real concern for future students going through. I finished school in 2002. Coming back to the higher education realm, having that support—that one-on-one support from someone who has been through the system—was great and it really helped me get through my first year. This year it is a bit daunting not having that around. Wollotuka are doing the best they can to put those supports in place, but I really think that is a big gap moving forward with Aboriginal education in Newcastle.
ACTING CHAIR: Are you going to go next, Chloe?
Ms Barwick : Yes. I am originally from Muswellbrook. My family is from Narrabri. I am in my second year of teaching in humanities, majoring in history and geography. Like Nigel, I think the support from Wollotuka has been great. It makes me want to come to uni every day. It is the support within the uni as well. That helps all students. You know there are many avenues you can go down. I came through a bridging course. I did not have the scores from my HSC to get into uni, and I have always wanted to be teacher. Having the bridging course of Yapug, Open Foundation and other programs within the uni that are open to Aboriginal students lets you know that there are more opportunities to get an education and do what you want to do.
ACTING CHAIR: How did you know about Yapug or the Open Foundation?
Ms Barwick : Muswellbrook is only around two hours from here, so we had a rep from the university, from Wollotuka, actually come to my school. I think it was when I was in year 9. They told us about The Wollotuka Institute and everything to do with it. When I did not get in I decided to take a gap year, and that is when I reached out. I did my research on the internet to figure out what I had to do. I even came here during the holidays and spoke to the staff about possibly getting into the program, what I had to do. They were very supportive. They helped me in getting my letter of Aboriginality, transcripts from school and everything like that. So I had a guaranteed spot in that program.
ACTING CHAIR: Great! And is that a common thing? Did others of you have a university coming out to your local schools?
Ms Nean : Yes.
ACTING CHAIR: Would you like to tell us about your experience?
Ms Nean : I am from up in Moree, which is six hours away from here. I am a first year student, so I have just started, and I am doing early childhood and primary school teaching. Mainly because I am only a first year student I have not experienced as much as all the other guys have. I am only in the fifth week of university at the moment.
ACTING CHAIR: So far so good?
Ms Nean : Yes. It is pretty daunting, but Wollotuka has supported me heaps through it. Backing up what Nigel said, I did not get to experience the ITAS program, the individual tutoring, but by the sound of it I think it would help heaps to have that back. At the moment it is only really in groups and you get afraid to speak up when you are in a group. You just want the one-on-one with an individual tutor—not being selfish or anything—just to help you as well.
ACTING CHAIR: Have you come from school or have you had some time off?
Ms Nean : Yes, I come straight from school. I finished last year and come straight from school.
Mr PERRETT: You are five weeks in. Is everyone shy about speaking up in the groups?
Ms Nean : A little bit, yeah, in my classes.
Mr PERRETT: Males and females?
Ms Nean : Yes. You get some people who are out there but not many.
ACTING CHAIR: And you are studying early childhood—
Ms Nean : Early childhood and primary.
ACTING CHAIR: Was that something that you had discussions about with careers people at school, or did you always just know that that is what you wanted?
Ms Nean : Through years 11 and 12 I did a school based traineeship.
Mr PERRETT: You went to early childhood centres in Moree?
Ms Nean : No. I am from Moree, but when I was in primary school we moved down. So I have lived here my whole life. I went to Callaghan College, Jesmond, and in year 11 I started a cert III in child care. When I finished year 12 I qualified to pretty much go out and teach straightaway in child care. Then that gave me an ATAR score which helped me get into university. While I was in years 11 and 12, I worked one day a week at a childcare centre and I would go to school the other four days. While I was at the childcare centre I would have something like two hours to do theory. Instead of going to TAFE I would just do my theory in those two hours, and all the staff would help me if I needed help. Then my assessor would come out every eight weeks and I would hand in the units I had completed. It just continued like that for two years.
ACTING CHAIR: Is that a helpful preparation, do you think?
Ms Nean : I think it was helpful.
Mr PERRETT: It would open your eyes wide open in terms of teaching kids.
Ms Nean : I kind of had those two years to see what I wanted to do and what the industry was like.
Mr NEUMANN: You mentioned ITAS. Tell me your experience. You do not have share, if you like, but I am really keen to hear how important it was for you.
Mr Millgate : For me, I was coming back as a mature-age student. School was not a necessity for me growing up in Dubbo; it was more sport. So coming back into that realm was very daunting. I did a couple of cert IIIs and cert IVs that enabled me to get into uni as a mature-aged student. Once I got to uni I realised that it was way above my pay grade. The ITAS tutor I had for around eight hours a week—or I think it could have been a little bit more—helped with anxiety levels that came with sitting assessments and exams and all of that sort of stuff. My ITAS tutor was unbelievable. We bonded. She helped me understand the sort of components of language and assessments that you do not really use in the everyday world. As an academic I am starting to grasp those languages, and that is all thanks to ITAS. I definitely would not have gotten through my first year of uni without ITAS.
Mr NEUMANN: Are you in your second year now?
Mr Millgate : I am in my second year now.
Mr NEUMANN: How are you coping with the second year?
Mr Millgate : All right. I am still here. At the end of the day, I have to get through it, if you know what I mean. My ITAS tutor, who is no longer funded or getting paid, still proofreads my assessments. That just goes to show what sort of person she really is.
Mr PERRETT: All of you are still here—that is stating the obvious. Can you tell me about your friends that are not here? Maybe not so much the first years, but the second and third years—those who have lost friends along the way who were Indigenous students and why they left. You do not have to name them. What was the difference?
Ms Barwick : In Yapug we started in 2015 with around 80 students. By the end of the degree when we all graduated, around six or 10 graduated from the program and finished it. Some people dropped out for family issues. Living away from home was one of the hardest things for people from up north.
Mr PERRETT: Where is up north?
Ms Barwick : Way up north. We have a couple of friends that still travel down who either have gone through their degree or are still in the program.
Mr PERRETT: So being homesick, to simplify it.
Ms Barwick : Yes. Struggle.
Mr PERRETT: You said 'family issues'—like missing their family or their family wanted them home?
Ms Barwick : Some people had kids. It was open to mature-aged students as well, so people had families and commitments at home and it just got too hard for them to continue with their study. We were doing a course load like a full-blown uni degree course load—so 80 units chucked in pretty much to do the whole thing.
Mr PERRETT: Is that as a full-time student?
Ms Barwick : It was a full-time student load.
Mr PERRETT: Has anyone else got friends they want to tell us about that are not here?
James : I think there is also stigma that comes with university—that university is only for people who are from a higher socioeconomic background or who are a lot smarter.
Mr PERRETT: You are talking about three children of the Whitlam generation here.
James : I think that still affects it. There are these low expectations.
Mr PERRETT: So where you come from there is a lower expectation of going to uni? Is that what you mean? I am not sure, James.
James : Yes, but also on the path through schooling—from primary school up to high school—there is a lower expectation of going to university.
ACTING CHAIR: The teachers did not expect you to want to go up to university? Is that what you are saying?
James : Yes. Teachers, other students and the community. It is not seen as the norm for Aboriginal people to go to university.
Mr PERRETT: So are they giving you a helping hand, saying, 'Go hard, James. Go to uni. We want you to succeed'? Or are they saying, 'Stay back with us, mate. We'll be friends together'?
James : I think it is intrinsic. The individual themselves feel like they do not belong here, or they feel like it is too much for them. You have to try to get that balance. I come from Bowraville, New South Wales—I am a Gumbaynggirr man—and it is very different being at university compared to being at home in my community. It is very hard to find that balance between being around family and living a sense of culture and who I am, as well as living as a university student.
Mr PERRETT: When you go home, does everyone say, 'We are proud of you,' or do they say you’re a bignoter, or is it a combination depending on—
James : It is a combination of both. As I said, you internalise that. We are not supposed to succeed, in a way. I have some family members and some community members saying it is good that I am here, and some not so much, as though I am thinking I am better or something like that. It is all about finding that balance between home life and community with Aboriginal people and being here as a student as well. I think that is why homesickness is a big reason for going back. It is much different. When we have homesickness, we do not have homesickness just for our immediate family. We have homesickness for our surroundings and for our extended family and entire community. It is much different in that sense. It is that balance. If we could do something to help students to get used to that balance. In Yapug—I did that the same year as Chloe—I noticed the same thing. There are students who come from those communities, whether it be Far North Queensland or the western region of remote New South Wales. It is too much of a transition to come here. It is a big culture change.
Mr NEUMANN: Before, some fellow mentioned that this is another land. Do you feel that?
James : Yes, definitely. I am off country here. It is a specific thing. Some Aboriginal people do not have it for historical reasons—dispossession and what not. But because of my upbringing this is a different land. This is not where my ancestors walked. I do not have that connection to this country. There is that as well. There is a spiritual feeling when I go back home. It is a rejuvenating feeling.
Mr PERRETT: We were in Thursday Island a fortnight ago, and there were people we spoke to whose kids go to Newcastle University. Newcastle is a long way from Thursday Island. Is it helpful for you if local traditional owners or local Indigenous folk from wherever help you out, even though you are not from here and work may be where your career options are, wherever it might be? Possibly not every job in the world will be in Bowraville, I would imagine.
James : Definitely. I get a lot of help. I cannot speak too highly of Wollotuka. They do an amazing job.
Mr PERRETT: They are not necessarily traditional owners for where we are.
James : No, but they do have an elders committee and they have elders who watch students from this area.
Mr PERRETT: It is not your land, but it is our nation. Is that helpful, in terms of a connection to country, even though it is not your country?
James : It is not my country in the sense of me as a Gumbaynggirr man, but the elders are similar to elders back home, so I do feel that I can connect into that. There are a lot of connections and similarities through the history of what these elders have gone through and what other Aboriginal people down here have gone through. When we greet other Indigenous people we greet in a specific way. We ask where they are from and we draw connections. I cannot speak too highly of Wollotuka. They do an amazing job.
Mr PERRETT: Going back to my original question: in terms of your friends that are not sitting at the table here today, who did not continue, would anyone like to say what might have been different? Maybe they did not have the experience James had—feeling homesick but not getting the support. Did you hear tales of people going home and being ostracised for trying to leave home?
Mr Millgate : It starts in the schoolyard. I remember a schoolteacher saying to me in Dubbo, 'Nigel, what are you wasting your time at school for? You're not going to be a teacher or a doctor, so what are you doing here?' When teachers are not putting that—
Mr PERRETT: Is that teacher still in Dubbo?
Mr Millgate : I do not know.
ACTING CHAIR: We are going to Dubbo in two days time.
Mr Millgate : You are going to Dubbo?
Mr PERRETT: We are going to Dubbo on Wednesday. I would love to have them in front of us; that is a criminal thing to say to someone.
Mr Millgate : It sure is. Especially to a kid who is at a stage in their life where they do not know which path to take, and especially living in a country town like Dubbo. I still remember that to this day, and that was 15 years ago.
Mr PERRETT: For what it is worth, I remember a teacher saying to me, 'You could be a teacher.'
Mr Millgate : That is probably why you are sitting there and I am sitting here.
Mr PERRETT: Yes.
ACTING CHAIR: I am conscious we have not given voice to Samantha or Lauren yet. I am going to move down to your table.
Mr PERRETT: I do not know if you want to answer my question, or say what you want to say.
ACTING CHAIR: You can answer that question, or you can feel free to make whatever contribution you might like to make to the table.
Ms McNeill : I am a second-year student studying primary school teaching. I am straight out of school. I have not had any contact whatsoever with the Wollotuka Institute and I am not from an Indigenous background. But, in year 10 I did my work experience in an Indigenous preschool in inland New South Wales, and I just loved it. I thought it was the best experience that I have ever had in my entire life and, as Nigel was saying with the school, I just think that is where it starts.
I think Indigenous people are amazing, and I just loved the experience in that preschool. It was connected to a primary school as well, and I worked with a really great teacher who was really passionate about doing the best she could for the kids. It really inspired me and I really enjoyed that experience.
ACTING CHAIR: You are a second-year student here, but you do not have any engagement with the Wollotuka Institute?
Ms McNeill : No, I do not.
ACTING CHAIR: As part of your teacher training course here, how much Indigenous study or the study of racism do you do? How much do you do in your ordinary, everyday coursework?
Ms McNeill : I am doing four courses this semester, and in every course so far we have discussed the topics of diversity, cultural awareness and all that sort of stuff. But it is only covered in about a week. You read a chapter of the textbook, go to a lecture and that is it. It is covered and then it sort of goes away. But, in my third year—I am pretty sure it is my third year—I will have to do a whole topic on Aboriginal education.
ACTING CHAIR: So that is a mandatory part of your third-year course?
Ms McNeill : Yes, I have to do it.
ACTING CHAIR: Do you, as a student who says she gained some inspiration for early childhood teaching through experience in a school or preschool with a strong Indigenous student population, get to have additional components? If you say, 'This is an area of education that I am particularly interested in, and I want to be the best non-Indigenous teacher I can be in an Indigenous school,' can you build that in as an additional part of your education experience?
Ms McNeill : In our third year, we can do a major; we can do maths, science, music or things like that. I am pretty certain you can do it in Aboriginal education.
Ms Johnson : I can answer that. I am a fifth-year primary education student, and my pathway is Indigenous education. I am not Indigenous, and I am not from anywhere Indigenous. I am from the Central Coast, and I moved up here to the Cessnock area when I was a child. I did my mandatory Aboriginal course in my fourth year, technically, and I loved it. I had a brilliant, brilliant teacher. She was amazing; she was just incredible. She was there for you at every turn if you needed help. She was beginning to be pregnant, but she just helped you in any way she could. I loved it. I smashed the course and I decided that that is what I wanted my pathway to be, so I changed it. It set me back a year or so, but that is what I do; I am incredibly passionate about it. My internship is coming up second semester this year. I have researched my schools for Indigenous population, the programs they have at the schools—and it is all thanks to that particular teacher at Wollotuka.
ACTING CHAIR: So you did have a relationship with Wollotuka through your education?
Ms Johnson : In my mandatory course. That was the first time I had been there.
ACTING CHAIR: Is that why you have not yet had—
Ms Nean : Yes. That will be my third year; I am only in my second year currently.
ACTING CHAIR: Thank you.
Mr NEUMANN: I am interested in the barriers. We had that idiot teacher at Dubbo that Graham wants to get in a crush at some stage when he comes across him—he is a school teacher, by the way. But I am interested in any other barriers that you think have been placed in front of you either at primary school, high school or even at university.
Mr Millgate : I will go out and say that some of the barriers stem from home. If your parents have not been through the higher education system or even schools—I know my mum never went to primary school; she was born back in the fifties—there was no real expectation. She obviously did work. She worked a couple of jobs. My father had a good job. They did not have any higher education. So there was no expectation, pressure or anything on me to go to university. It was more: go and get out and get a trade and do that sort of stuff.
I was lucky. I did not have the worst upbringing. My parents worked and did all that sort of stuff. But for my cousins and relatives in places like Brewarrina and even in west Dubbo, their mum and dad may not have been working; they were on social welfare and that sort of stuff. School was not a priority for the kids and therefore we are seeing a lack of kids going through to the HSC or even completing year 10. I think that is a barrier that starts from home. All that intergenerational stuff that has happened still has an impact on homes to this day.
Ms Barwick : With what Nigel said about a lot stemming from home: I used to work in a school where there were some Aboriginal students. A lot of the Aboriginal students had large responsibilities at home, which took most of their focus towards home and feeding their siblings and making sure the house was clean and things like that that a parent should do—their focus was going towards that and they were dropping off in schools. Some schools were not supporting them with their school work. They saw their misbehaviour and them seeking help as attention seeking and did not do anything about it.
I had a one-on-one experience that to this day still lives in my mind. I will never forget what one student told me, and it pretty much scared me to the point where I had to speak to the principal about what was going on at home. I was not even a teacher yet. I was just working in the school as a tutor. So there needs to be more support from teachers and the school about things that are going on at home and help for those students to figure out the balance between what a child should be doing at home and what they actually are doing. They are doing the role of the parent to younger siblings.
James : That also comes with a cultural difference. I think that the education system does not understand that the family structure of Indigenous people is different to non-Indigenous people. Elder siblings do have certain roles that they fill for their younger siblings. I had to do that. It is just a different family structure. It is a separate culture and I do not feel that that is acknowledged enough. It is at a point where it is one size fits all. It is not acknowledged that we do have our own differences—take language, for example. Personally I feel that Aboriginal English should be recognised as a dialect of English rather than being passed off as just slang, because that acknowledges that there is a language barrier and that we have to work around that barrier.
Mr PERRETT: Can we recommend an earlier report that this committee did on this topic?
James : As well, I feel that with my experience working in schools there seemed to be a lot of tokenism when it came to bringing Indigenous content into the curriculum, into the classrooms. It seemed that staff members were not educated enough on how to do it and how to do it properly. It was just kind of ticking the box, getting it done. I experienced it recently in a class. The teacher integrated the knowledge and Indigenous content into the classroom—I will not mention the course—but it was one slide and it was very tokenistic. I feel like teachers and educators should have the opportunity to be educated more on the topic.
ACTING CHAIR: Without putting you on the spot, did you have an opportunity to ask that teacher about that content? Do you think it was a lack of good training for that teacher? You said it was a superficial inclusion of Indigenous content. Or do you think there are deep and systemic issues at play there?
James : I am not too sure, but I do know that I would much rather her not mentioning it in the class than doing it in a superficial or tokenistic way.
Mr PERRETT: Yes.
ACTING CHAIR: Yes. Do you have brothers and sisters here at uni?
Ms Barwick : I have my younger sister who is, literally, a year younger. She is doing the bridging course that I completed.
ACTING CHAIR: That is the Yapug one?
Ms Barwick : Yes. She is into her fifth week of that now.
ACTING CHAIR: Are you being a good support person for her at the moment?
Ms Barwick : Yes, I am—yes and no, because—
ACTING CHAIR: Because you are here!
Ms Barwick : I moved down from Muswellbrook last year after travelling for 18 months. I was commuting nearly every single week, if not day, to come to uni. So I moved down here last year, and she moved down here at the end of last year with me. We live in a house together with some friends of ours who are also Indigenous and doing other programs. We kind of all help each other. We have two people who are doing education, one is doing speech and my sister is doing Yapug. We are all helping one another. She likes the program so far, I think. When I see her, she is liking it!
Mr Millgate : She is still there.
Ms Barwick : Yes, she is still there!
ACTING CHAIR: Fair enough. Are you all the first of your families to be at university? Not you, James? So you have some older siblings or cousins?
James : No. My father came back as a mature-age student and did a degree in applied sciences. Currently he is doing a proposal currently for a PhD, so hopefully he can get in.
Mr PERRETT: He has been a good inspiration, obviously, James?
James : Yes, he definitely has. I think what really helped him was that he did it on block. He had the opportunity to stay with his family and every two months or so he would travel and spend two weeks at the university and do all his assignments at home. I have had many family members do their degrees by block. I am not sure what the course or program is called but, yes, it seems massively beneficial. I have had four or so cousins from Bowraville do that block in teaching and now two of them have finished their degrees and I think that two are in their last year.
Mr PERRETT: Is your dad a better student than you, James?
James : He has the terminology down pat, so yes!
Mr PERRETT: A very diplomatic answer there!
ACTING CHAIR: Regretfully, we have run out of time already, which is just extraordinary. But I do want to make sure you all have an opportunity for any last-minute comment that you might wish to make—or understand that if there is something where you think, 'Damn, I really wish I had put that on record,' that you can send your comments through to the secretariat on email or something, if you think, 'I really had wanted an opportunity to say this, and I didn't get it.' But James is ready. He has something to say now.
James : The School of Education here at the University of Newcastle do a great job in Indigenous education as well. In all the courses I have done, I have seen that they have integrated Indigenous knowledge and practice into the courses in a very appropriate way. I have really enjoyed it. There is not one point in class where I have been singled out as through primary school and high school—like, 'Here's an Aboriginal student; we'll ask him.' Not once did I experience any of that. When the non-Indigenous students had questions on how to integrate it into their teachings, the teachers would give very appropriate answers and say if their ideas were superficial or not. The School of Education here do a great job.
ACTING CHAIR: That is good. Do you have many other Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students doing the course with you?
James : At the moment I think there are 10.
Ms Nean : It is not a great number, but it is not little either.
James : I would say there are 10 or so that I know of spread out throughout the degree, but I am sure there will be many more.
ACTING CHAIR: Was it a factor for you to come to a university that does have an Indigenous presence? The enrolments here at Newcastle university are among the highest of any Australian university. That is not saying that there is not room for increased improvement, but is it a factor for you at all to come to a university where you are not going to be the only one or two in a classroom?
James : Yes, definitely. I have actually had a family member transfer from a different university to this one for that very reason.
Ms Nean : I guess it just makes you feel more welcome and more supported, because you kind of have your people here.
James : What they have done for me is that they have lifted the standards I have for myself massively. They have a wall of fame of Indigenous students here who have done their PhD or their master's. To see that and to know that they come from the same background as me is a huge uplift. Also, I recently got back from a trip with an Indigenous student leadership program. We spent a month travelling in North America visiting indigenous communities and schools and hospitals and stuff over there. We actually went to the UN in New York. There is an Indigenous woman working at the United Nations who is from the Northern Territory. I spoke to her. She has a similar background.
Mr NEUMANN: I have met her. She is great.
James : She has a similar background to me. It skyrocketed my expectations for myself. I could not speak in any higher regard of that program. I hope it can continue.
ACTING CHAIR: That is terrific.
Mr PERRETT: James foreshadowed this. Who intends to go back and work in their home community? New York ain't Bowraville, James.
Ms Barwick : I want to head back to the Hunter.
Mr Millgate : I would like to head back to Dubbo one day—not just yet, but one day.
Mr NEUMANN: You guys have been fantastic. Thank you for taking the time to talk to us. It has been really good.
ACTING CHAIR: It is very much appreciated. You are newly into your year and you all have a workload, so we appreciate it.
Mr NEUMANN: To give you a bit of encouragement, I do not know Sharon's background in detail, but I know Graham comes from a pretty humble St George background, and no-one-in my family ever went to university until I went to university.
Mr PERRETT: When I was in St George, we went shopping in Moree and it was the big smoke. That is how small St George is.
Mr NEUMANN: We are federal members, but he comes from country Queensland and I come from working-class Ipswich.
Mr Millgate : Hopefully, one day we can push you out of your job!
ACTING CHAIR: Indeed! I am not at all dissimilar to these two sitting with me. My sister and I were the first of my family to ever go to university. I am enormously proud of the work that Newcastle is doing to try to address some of those equity issues but ensure that you get a quality education at the same time. Thank you again for your time. It is really terrific and an important part of our deliberations.
Resolved that these proceedings be published.
Committee adjourned at 13:54