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Wednesday, 5 March 2014
Page: 1702

Ms GAMBARO (Brisbane) (13:30): Each year I conduct a literary competition for students in my electorate, and each year that I have held this competition I have been consistently impressed by the quality and the originality shown by our youth. The 2013 entrants continued that legacy, writing to the theme 'Why Australia is a great country'.

There were two standout entries. Congratulations to Ashleigh Whatson, a year 6 student at Brisbane's All Hallows' School. Ashleigh took out first place with a moving essay that truly showed a maturity and a depth of understanding beyond her years. The judges were very impressed with Ashleigh's winning entry and with her ability to articulate her views in such a compassionate and insightful way.

Second prize went to former Hamilton State School student Jack Buckingham, who is now in year 5 at Windsor State School. His passionate tribute to Australia's culture, landscape and lifestyle struck a definitive chord with the judges. I commend both winners on their achievements.

I was overwhelmed by the quality of the entries from across the Brisbane electorate and I commend each and every student who contributed. My thanks must go to former news presenter Marie-Louise Theile; Tony Koch, a Walkley Award winning journalist and former deputy editor of TheAustralian; Shannon Sagaidak, senior reporter for Quest Newspapers; and Jane O'Hara, former Brisbane Writers Festival CEO and now a producer at the Brisbane Powerhouse. Their involvement and support, along with the encouragement of the parents, teachers and schools across the Brisbane electorate are to be commended.