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Monday, 30 August 1999
Page: 9437


Mr BARTLETT (10:53 PM) —A couple of weeks ago I attended an assembly of one of the schools in my electorate, Bede Polding College. The reason for my visit was to present a sports certificate to one of the winners of that award. During that assembly six young secondary students rose to read a short piece. These students were Samantha Camileri, Elise Miller, Louisa Cremen, Jocelyn Galea, Jim Formosa and Tim George. I was very impressed by what they read, firstly, because of the sincerity of their presentation and, secondly, because of the values and the challenge that they conveyed. I told them that if I had a chance I would read their short speech to parliament. This is what they said:

The paradox of our time in history is that we have taller buildings, but shorter tempers; wider freeways, but narrower viewpoints; we spend more, but have less; we buy more, but enjoy it less.

We have bigger houses and smaller families; more conveniences, but less time; we have more degrees, but less sense; more knowledge, but less judgment; more experts, but more problems; more medicine, but less wellness.

We have multiplied our possessions, but reduced our values. We talk too much, love too seldom, and hate too often. We've learned how to make a living, but not a life; we've added years to life, not life to years.

We've been all the way to the moon and back, but have trouble crossing the street to meet the new neighbour. We've conquered outer space but not inner space. We've cleaned up the air, but polluted the soul; we've split the atom but not our prejudice.

We have higher incomes but lower morals. We've become long on quantity but short on quality.

These are the times of tall men and short character; steep profits and shallow relationships. These are the times of world peace, but domestic warfare; more leisure but less fun; more kinds of food, but less nutrition. These are days of two incomes but more divorce; of fancier houses but broken homes.

It is a time when there is much in the show window and nothing in the stock room; a time when technology can bring this letter to you; and a time when you can choose either to make a difference, or to just hit the delete button.

I thank those six young students for sharing that with the assembly and for the timely reminder that it provided not only to those others in the assembly but to me as well, a reminder of the things that really are important: that materialism is not the key to happiness; that more is not necessarily better; that relationships and people matter more than possessions; that commitment is in fact pivotal to happiness; that responsibility is more important than rights.

I was greatly encouraged that these young people could see the importance of these things that they shared with the assembly. I was greatly encouraged that they could see through the superficiality of much that society presents as being so important. From the message that they shared and from their belief in what they shared I took great hope for our future.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

House adjourned at 10.57 p.m.