A couple of weeks ago the Lu Alessi, the Principal of Mill Park Primary School, just around the corner from my electorate office, invited me to spend an afternoon with the year 6 students from her school. It was a very memorable afternoon. She invited me because year 6 are about to head to Canberra to spend some time at a range of national institutions, including this parliament. I was really struck by the engagement of all of the year 6 students and their concern about politics and my role on their behalf and on behalf of their parents and about the community they live in.
Also, perhaps most importantly, I was struck by their care for each other over the course of the conversation. These were respectful, considered and articulate students. They asked me some hard questions and showed a real interest in the work I and all of us do in this place. It was simply an inspiring place to be on a Friday afternoon and filled me with confidence for their future. That confidence is of course reinforced just a little bit by recent announcements by the Deputy Premier and Minister for Education in Victoria of significant support for state schools like Mill Park Primary. That gives these year 6 students and those that will follow them confidence that they will get every educational opportunity they deserve—or they would if the unity ticket on Gonski on needs-based school funding had arrived. But I would like to take this opportunity to thank all the students and staff who participated in our conversation and to wish them all the best for their visit to Canberra. I look forward to carrying on our conversation.