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Tuesday, 22 June 2010
Page: 6194


Ms HALL (4:36 PM) —The Learn. Earn. Legend! campaign has arranged for 100 eager Indigenous students from all over the nation to spend one week in Canberra, exploring and undertaking work experience in Parliament House and in government related jobs. In my office there are two current students of the Presbyterian Ladies College, Sydney: Maddison Deguara from year 10 and Gemma Lloyd from year 12. Maddison is from the Wiradjuri tribe and says:

The Learn Earn Legend! program is a fantastic program and enables me, along with 99 other students, to experience life as a parliamentarian.

I think this experience, along with the support of other organisations, will enable Indigenous students to encourage themselves, other individuals and their whole communities to get an education, stay at school and get the jobs they have always wished for.

Gemma Lloyd, from the Dainggatti tribe, said:

This opportunity has opened my eyes to the vast opportunities and experiences available for Indigenous students in Australia.

The students this week are working alongside parliamentarians such as Mark Arbib and Minister Macklin. The ambassador for the Learn Earn Legend! program is Scott Prince, a first-grade NRL player for the Titans. In addition to being a famous footballer, the fact that he is an Indigenous person himself enables the students to relate to him and helps them to aspire to live life and follow their dreams.

On day 2, many of the students found themselves splattered across the second page of the Canberra Times. The media attention will hopefully bring awareness to programs available and motivate students to work in parliament or community services. Maddison and Gemma have undertaken tasks such as editing speeches, opening and filing mail and writing media releases on paid parental leave. Roger Price and I hope to give these girls a most rewarding experience. Hopefully, they will one day be working alongside us or other parliamentarians.

Partnerships with the Department of Employment, Education and Workplace Relations have enabled the Learn Earn Legend! program to blossom, and I hope this work experience will continue in future years. Minister Macklin said:

It is great to have the next generation of Indigenous leaders here in Parliament House and across a range of Government departments.

I can only agree with this statement, as it is their pathways that will determine our country’s future.

I anticipate that Maddison and Gemma have gained a sustainable understanding of life in parliament, and it was more than my pleasure to house them for these two days. It is not every day that we have students working with us, but it was exciting to teach them a little bit about my job. The Learn Earn Legend! program also aims at closing the gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous students in the workplace. I believe that, with support and funding from various organisations, we can maintain a continuously growing Indigenous workforce. This speech was written by Maddison and Gemma. They are both outstanding young women with big futures.


The DEPUTY SPEAKER (Hon. DS Vale)—Order! In accordance with standing order 193 the time for constituency statements has concluded.