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Thursday, 29 November 2012
Page: 14068


Mr McCORMACK (Riverina) (11:51): Australia's youth are wonderful and this is certainly so in the Riverina. I opened the Shout Out regional New South Wales Youth Summit at Griffith last Wednesday and then spent an absorbing time at the event at which local high schoolers had the opportunity to meet local decision-makers, share their experiences with education and meet inspirational people such as Sam Cawthorn.

Sam survived a near fatal car accident in Tasmania in October 2006 in which he suffered horrific injuries including losing his right arm and much of the muscle in his right leg. Despite this he recovered and during his long and painful rehabilitation dreamt up Be Motivated, a program aimed at providing challenged young people with skills to improve their confidence and self-belief in order to attain personal goals while remaining positive when faced with adversity. He is truly an amazing man and it is little wonder that he was the recipient of the 2009 Young Australian of the Year for Tasmania. He captivated the teens from Narrandera, Leeton, Griffith and elsewhere and captured the moment by uploading a YouTube video featuring the kids. As he would have said, awesome stuff! The day was well organised by Youth Connections National Network national executive officer, Rebekha Sharkie, of South Australia.

On Saturday I attended the Rotary Youth Program of Enrichment, RYPEN, for Rotary district 9700 at the Borambola Sport and Recreation Centre. There were 55 teenagers in attendance from all parts of the Riverina as well as a few from the Central West. A Rotarian from Wagga Wagga, Neil Pinto, helped organise the day and did a wonderful job with these kids who truly are amazing youngsters.

On Sunday I presented a very special award to fine young Narrandera girl. Bridget Baldwin received her Pioneer Pin, which is the highest national award a girl can achieve in the New South Wales Girls' Brigade. She was badged at a service at St John's Uniting Church as part of the 147th New South Wales Girls' Brigade's presentation. Her brigade colleagues were also given awards for their efforts during the year. It was a great moment for Anne Beckett, who organised the service, is the captain of 147th New South Wales and is also Bridget's grandmother. She was very, very proud and so she should have been.

Today 11-year-old Thomas Zambon from Griffith is here in Parliament House as part of the Kids in the House program to recognise the importance of type 1 diabetes. Thomas came first in the Riverina martial arts tournament in the category of boys 10 to 12 years. He is a charming young fellow and a real brave battler. I understand today he is going to be presenting me with a bear, Rufus. Rufus is the bear which is given to kids with type 1 diabetes to help them identify the sites on their body where they need to have needles inserted to help them with their condition. I call on all governments to do more to fund diabetes in kids. There is a growing incidence and these kids are wonderful. They need all the help they can get from all sides of politics.

Yesterday the kids from Collingullie and Uranquinty public schools were here in parliament. I receive many, many kids because my electorate is so close to Canberra. The kids are always wanting to ask questions and find out why there are so many clocks and how many rooms there are in parliament. They are always amazed by the long corridors and they get a real buzz when they see somebody really important—for instance, the Prime Minister or the Leader of the Opposition. Another two great schools doing wonders in my electorate are at Ganmain, a community 55 kilometres west of Wagga where the public school recently celebrated its centenary. There are 32 kids at the local Catholic school, St Brendan's. The principal, Kathy Gaskin, is really firing up their imaginations and their literacy skills with the Flat Stanley project. This is Flat Stanley, and Ganmain people have taken Flat Stanley right throughout the world and had his photo taken. I will just hand him to the member for Wannon so he might get into Hansard—hold Flat Stanley up.

Flat Stanley has really helped with their literacy skills and to write stories and inspire these kids. Flat Stanley is now going across to the Labor side so the member for Corangamite can hold him, and the kids from Ganmain will be really pleased to know that we are using this prop in parliament. They will be excited by the fact that he has been to both sides of politics. It is a great little school. Both the schools at Ganmain are tremendous schools and may they long last into the future and the kids out of there will have many great opportunities. (Time expired)

The DEPUTY SPEAKER: Is the member for Riverina seeking to table Flat Stanley?

Leave granted.