Kara Yong, Killara High School, Davidson Electorate Work Experience

About this Item
SpeakersO'Dea Mr Jonathan
BusinessPrivate Members Statements, PRIV

Page: 12063

Mr JONATHAN O'DEA (Davidson) [5.53 p.m.]: Kara Yong, a year 10 student from Killara High School, spent this week with our Davidson electorate team as work experience in the demanding world of politics. The Davidson team welcomed her and showed her the basics of political life. Kara has always been interested in history and will study modern history as a year 11 subject. Her love for history sprouted an interest in politics. Kara says:

      History is there to document the mistakes or choices made by previous governments and people alike. It is up to us to not repeat the mistakes.

Kara says that is the reason why she studies history as a subject and that history textbooks are like rules books or guidelines to instruct politicians on what they should avoid. On Wednesday morning Kara joined one of my staff members to hand out mini-budget information pamphlets to the general public at Lindfield train station. Kara said:

      Many people were rushing off to work with a jacket in one hand, a briefcase in the other and a ticket in their mouth.

Kara said that initially many people were not keen on taking a pamphlet, but once they knew the pamphlet contained political information that was valuable to them they were eager to do so. That exercise also revealed to Kara commonly raised issues and ways in which we can take care of local constituents. Kara learnt that although the Coalition is not in power we still can assist the public in many ways, including making representations to Government. Two days this week Kara attended parliamentary question time. She said that although she had read about the Legislative Assembly in history books and seen it on the news, she still was blown away when she entered the Chamber.

She told me that she loved the participation and the passion shown by so many members about a subject or an issue. Kara has learnt many new things that could only have been experienced first-hand. Kara hopes that one day she can identify and contribute towards solutions to current issues, including environmental, medical and educational issues. At Parliament House Kara met many new people whom she may see in the future if she takes on a political role. She previously thought that being a politician was about making promises you cannot keep, but she now knows that a lot is being done and much good news is unseen and unheard in the media.

When asked about her school, Killara High School, Kara replied that it is a really great school that achieves not only academically but also in extracurricular activities. She tells me that her school, which prospers on the talent and dedication of the students, deserves greater recognition. Just last week Killara High School announced the success of students in the Australia-Asia English competition, with an astounding number of students achieving high distinctions and a ranking in the top 1 per cent of the State. The school also announced that its Stage Concert Band 2 had won a competition involving schools across New South Wales. Kara feels that the school has been bombarded with an increasing number of demountable classrooms as it attracts more students with its high academic record. Kara suggests that the Government allocate more funds for the repair and expansion of the school.

On 26 July the school's theatre suffered significant damage from a fire, which is being treated as suspicious. As investigations continue, students and staff mourn the money that now has to be spent on the repair of the much-loved theatre rather than on a much-needed new building. With two years left at school, Kara is concerned that she will not be attending the school when the Government finally decides to help Killara High School with its new building. I told her that, unfortunately, the Liberal Party will not be in power before 2011, but hopefully something will happen before then. I refer the Minister for Education and Training and the Parliamentary Secretary to previous occasions when matters relating to Killara High School have been raised in the House, and I have sent a letter inviting them to visit the school to gain a better understanding of its resource difficulties. I acknowledge the role that Kara has played in drafting this speech.