Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
 Download Current HansardDownload Current Hansard   

Previous Fragment    Next Fragment
Tuesday, 31 May 1994
Page: 1107

Mr RICHARD EVANS (7.53 p.m.) —It gives me great pleasure to present to the House the comments of this year's winner of the Qantas/Cowan essay competition. Honourable members will remember that last year I initiated an essay writing competition for secondary school students, who were invited to write a 2,000-word essay on a set topic. As a side comment, it is interesting to note some of the comments of last year's winner, Nathan Barnes of Morley, who identified a number of initiatives the government could employ to reduce youth unemployment. Last year Nathan wrote:

The very high level of youth unemployment can be put down partly to the lack of skills and experience, but the main reason is the relatively small differential between youth and adult wage rates. In the guise of preventing `exploitation' of young people the trade union movement has been able to keep wage rates higher than the market rate. This has the effect of making adult workers a more attractive employment proposition, and maintaining high youth unemployment.

The foresight and understanding of Australia's present economic malaise by this young Australian is to be commended and congratulated. The Cowan essay competition is a unique and valuable work experience for young people in my own electorate to participate in our parliamentary process and to gain a valuable insight into the day-to-day workings of the parliament and their local federal politician.

  I would like to congratulate Monica Muski of Alexander Heights, a year 11 student from Morley Senior High School, on her winning entry. As part of her prize for winning the competition, Monica travelled to Parliament House to witness the budget proceedings. This year's essay topic was `What should Australian politicians be doing to help Australian families?' It is a topic particularly relevant for this year, the International Year of the Family. I would like to bring to the attention of my colleagues some of Monica's comments about what Australia's parliamentarians can be doing for Australian families. She writes:

The family unit is the fundamental building block of our society . . . Politicians as the leaders of the country have the power to change public facilities for the better and to distribute funds to areas where they are needed most in order to help improve the standing of Australian families.

  Social Security and other financial assistance to families is just such an issue. There are many loopholes in the system and large amounts of money are misdirected to individuals who have no real need for it. On the other hand, there are others for whom this assistance would be greatly beneficial, however they either have no idea that such money exists, or they do not know where and how to apply to obtain it.

  Health is another issue that many families have to deal with. Medicare, although providing a reasonable service for those not privately insured, proves to be an extra payment for services not necessarily needed for those who are insured. Providing those who have private insurance with large discounts from the Medicare Levy could encourage many to take up private insurance and ease the strain on Medicare payouts.

  Womens health is also a very important factor. Many women's illnesses, if detected early, can be cured with minimum trauma and financial pain to the patient. However if found later, the illness costs a huge amount in both financial and emotional terms to the entire family, not to mention the drain of government services such as Medicare. The answer to this is simply to remember that prevention is better than cure, and that with regular checkups many women would not have to face the trauma of major illness. More womens heath care facilities which are especially catered for female clientele could be established.

  These health care units would not only provide people with a valuable resource but would also be a reminder and actual physical proof that the politicians of Australia care about Australian families and that they are willing to do something to assist the families of Australia.

  There are many things that the Government can do to help the families of today. Let us hope that in this year—the year of the family—most of these projects will be fulfilled to ensure the healthy growth of our nation's families.

Mr Speaker, I think you will agree that the comments of Monica Muski, a young Australian who obviously cares deeply about her country and its future, deserves attention as do the hopes and fears of all young Australians. I would like to thank the secondary schools in my electorate for their continued support for this initiative, the local newspapers—the Wanneroo Times and the Eastern Suburbs Reporter—for their continued publicity of the event, the Parliamentary Education Office, and especially Qantas Airways, for their very generous support and sponsorship of the competition.

  Question resolved in the affirmative.

House adjourned at 7.58 p.m.