This week brought a very special surprise. I received a call from the office of Mr Trent Zimmerman, our local Member of Parliament for North Sydney, to tell us that Sam Street in Class 6 had won the primary section of the North Sydney School Speech Writing competition. Sam had entered the competition run by Mr Zimmerman, and his entry was selected from hundreds of other entries from primary schools across the North Sydney electorate.
What a fabulous achievement! Congratulations Sam! Special mention has also to go to Rodney Dean, Sam’s Class Teacher who has nurtured the writing talent of his class over his six years with them. As part of the competition, Mr Zimmerman promised to read the winning speeches out in Parliament, which he did on Wednesday night. So here, directly taken from Hansard, the official record of the Australian Parliament, is Sam Street’s winning entry, What is special about Australia. It’s a beauty! See below to read transcript
Mr ZIMMERMAN (North Sydney) (19:34): I'm continuously inspired by young people in my community who so often demonstrate such passion and foresight about the future of our nation. I make this observation in response to the hundreds of outstanding entries I received as part of my inaugural North Sydney School Speech Writing Competition. I decided to organise the competition to encourage students to put pen to paper about the issues and values that are important to them. In part, I was inspired by speeches I heard students deliver at the annual presentation day at Cammeray Public School in December. They were just outstanding.
For this, the inaugural competition, students in years 5 and 6 were asked the question: What is special about Australia? Those in years 7 and 8 were asked to outline their designs if they were the Prime Minister for a day. I am pleased to announce that the winners of this year's competition are Sam Street, who is in year 6 at Glenaeon Rudolph Steiner School, and Sharon Jacob from year 7 at North Sydney Girls High School. I hope both are watching this evening on the streaming service.
As part of the competition, I promised to deliver the winning speeches in parliament. On what is special about Australia, Sam Street submitted a beautifully poetic speech which I found quite moving. It reads as follows :
You are taking a quiet stroll along an old Australian track. Sadly, litter dots the area and a plastic bag blows across the path like a dancing jellyfish. You close your eyes and gradually some old unknown magic of the Dreamtime takes you back, back hundreds of years. You stand where you were before, but everything has changed.
You continue to walk along the old track, and many incredible things unfold before your eyes. The wind rustles the leaves above you, and you notice a furry koala sitting between the branches of a strong eucalyptus tree. You hear leaves crunching as a large golden snake slithers past. Your eyes are drawn to a flock of beautiful birds that dip and sway in the deep blue sky high above.
Then your foot hits a hard object. You spin around to see what it was, and to your astonishment it is the broken head of a wooden spear. Your heart misses a beat as a mob of kangaroos speeds past you, followed by an enthusiastic Aboriginal hunter.
Everything begins to fade, and you see the plastic bag float by again, bringing you back to reality. Suddenly you realise how special Australia is and how much you want to keep it that way. You reach out and catch the bag.
- by Sam Street, Class 6, Glenaeon Rudolf Steiner School.