Q&A High School Special | Q&A

Q&A High School Special | Q&A


(APPLAUSE) Good evening, and welcome
to Q&A’s high school special. I’m Tony Jones. And here to answer
your questions tonight, William Gillett, from the Loxton High on the River Murray
in South Australia, recently re-elected New South Wales
Premier Gladys Berejiklian, Aurora Matchett,
from St Patrick’s Sutherland, an advocate for disability
who lives with severe hearing loss, Willoughby Duff,
from Kennedy Baptist School, Perth, who describes himself
as a young conservative, Labor’s deputy Senate leader
and Shadow Minister for Immigration Kristina Keneally, and Gosford High’s Varsha Yajman, who helped organise
the School Strike 4 Climate. Please welcome our panel. Thank you very much. Q&A is live in eastern Australia
on ABC TV, iview and NewsRadio. Well, this is our fourth
high school special. We’re very happy to have
the people who’ve auditioned join us here
on this high school special. Hundreds of students,
in fact, auditioned and these four have joined
two politicians tonight to answer the questions
from the audience. Now, you’re going to see
the leaders of tomorrow. We’re very excited to do that. So we’ll go straight
to our very first question, and it’s from Daphne Fong. 150,000 young people in Australia
and 1.5 million across the world attended the School Strike 4 Climate
in March this year. Both major parties
dismissed the strikes and told these young people
to go back to school. Since then, we’ve seen increasing
investment in fossil fuel, the approval of the Adani mine, a disappointing outcome
for our regional neighbours at the Pacific Leaders Forum and Queensland Labor
changing its stance to pro-coal. How do you expect young people
to support either of these major parties
when both seem to be complicit on destroying our air, land
and water resources? Well, let’s hear first
from our student panellists. Varsha, we’ll start with you. Alright. Well, I don’t think we can
support any of these parties when they aren’t supporting
what we need. They aren’t giving us
a sustainable future. Because climate change is
more than just about recycling or saving the Great Barrier Reef. It’s a civilisation wake-up call. We need to do something about it. And these strikes are mobilising
young people. And on September 20th,
we’re having a global strike. So, this global strike is
about workers, it’s about students, it’s about every single person, because what we need to do is, we
need to build a mass mobilisation, put pressure on our government
and actually get some action done. Now, Varsha, I’m going to bring you
to a part of that question, which was, do young people –
do you in particular – trust the major parties? No. I don’t think we can. Because I think the reason
that we have people in government is to support our views or is to
make decisions for us as a majority, but the thing is
they aren’t making any decisions that are actually needed. We keep putting our economic crisis
at the forefront but we aren’t taking care
of our climate, when both of them
are cyclically linked. We need to work on our climate and therefore we can work
on our economy. Now, Willoughby Duff, you are
a member of the Liberal Party. So you probably trust
at least one of them. Yes. Yes, I do, Tony. Thank you for your question, Daphne,
and I do think it is important that we do act on climate change. At the same time, as well – I know
Varsha mentioned about the economy – we need to remember that
the coal industry not only makes thousands of jobs
for regional Australians as well, but it also makes up
a lot of our exports as well. So it’s actually creating
and generating billions of dollars for the Australian economy. And that’s something that
we really do need to bear in mind. In terms of what action
is being taken now, I understand the Liberal Party
has implemented a Climate Solutions Fund. Whether this will be effective
is to be seen. (CHUCKLES) You don’t sound
very confident, Willoughby. Oh, well…
(LAUGHTER) You can’t speculate too much
on the future, Tony. No. We are here to talk
about the future, though. Yes.
Kristina, you just heard… Yep.
..that the Labor Party seemed to have a sort of antagonism to the coal
industry prior to the election – all changed now? Uh, look, the first thing I want
to say is you made the point about both political parties saying
that you shouldn’t be doing that. I have to say…I say,
“Go for it,” you know. I took my two kids out of school
in 2006 to go to the Your Rights At Work
protest. They both graduated
from high school, they’re both productive members
of society, they both have jobs. And I wanted them to learn from
that point that there are things that are worth doing, there are
things that are worth fighting for, and if you want things to change
in your society, you actually have to stand up
and make your voice heard. So I often reflect too, I had
a teacher that said to me once, “Never let your course work
get in the way of your education.” And the point of that is not that you should be wagging school
willy-nilly to go out and do a range of things, but there are things
worth fighting for. And if you truly believe
in fighting for it, you need to make your voice heard. And so, I congratulate Varsha
and those people who’ve done that. But let me say this – when it comes
to the issue of climate change, we have a circumstance now
after a decade of climate wars, where we are actually going
backwards. The past four years,
emissions have been going up. We are not going to meet…
this country is not going to meet the weak 20%
emissions reduction target. We’re going to miss it by 19% –
a whopping 19%. You know, the government says we are
meeting these targets in a canter. We’re not even walking. We’re going
backwards. We need to be galloping. This is the future of the planet. And, you know, one of the things
I would have liked to have seen at the last election
is an end to those climate wars. And Labor did seek to
and offer support for the National Energy Guarantee but the government walked away
from that as well. Uh, you know, business…
Kristina, can I just interrupt you for a moment and go back
to our questioner, Daphne. You asked a question
which implied scepticism of both major parties. Are you feeling less sceptical
hearing what Kristina is saying? Yes. A little more, but I still
feel like more needs to be done on both sides, especially in terms of the Queensland parliament
as well, and their new stance. Mm. Look, I don’t want a focus
on one particular coalmine, which is what happened
in the election, distract from the overall issue
of our climate. And, yeah, the Great Barrier Reef
is a big part of it. I mean, the government threw
$500 million, half a billion dollars,
to a small private foundation and said, “Job done.
Great Barrier Reef solved.” It’s not solved. So these are the challenges. There
are a range of challenges here. You know, coal is going to be
part of our future. Let’s make no mistake about it. We cannot transition overnight
to a no-coal economy. OK, alright. Let me go to Aurora. What do you think
about that notion, Aurora, and whether Daphne’s question
is correct that young people are by and large
sceptical of the major parties? I mean, I personally… I really believe in
what Kristina is saying here. Her truth doesn’t really
inspire me that the government will do
something about it. And, you know, not focusing
on one particular mine, I really think that’s important – we need to focus on the whole
problem as a whole, and not just that one mine,
not just that one reef. It’s a whole country that’s
dealing with this climate crisis. William, what do you think? I believe that, like, the government has been keeping
to their goals and objectives, so we’ve seen them
going above and beyond with the Paris climate agreement. Well, like, keeping to it, and keeping to… And looking like
they’re going to achieve the Kyoto agreement too. And, yeah, I think they’ve been
keeping on track with their climate agreements. What do you think about your school
colleagues going on strike to support stronger action
against climate change? Where I live, we don’t have
that sort of issue. Kids… ‘Cause there are a lot
of kids that, where I live, that don’t really believe in this
climate change as much, as strongly. And although I’m not
a strong believer in it either, I still think it’s good
if you want to take a stand in what you believe in,
and feel free to… Because that’s what
our great country is. We have freedom of speech and
a right to speak on our beliefs. Gladys. Daphne, can I thank you
for your question? And I don’t blame you for expressing
yourself the way you have. There’s no doubt that climate change is one of the biggest issues
of your generation. In my generation, it was about nuclear war
and stopping nuclear war. In your generation,
it’s climate change. And can I encourage you to think
collectively and creatively about how you can get
your specific voice across? We understand everybody
cares about climate change but tell us exactly where you feel
we can make a difference as a community, and try
and effect change that way. Can I say, that I organised
a protest once during school hours but it was actually at school,
so I was creative. So I am someone who believes… I look back on my school years –
I went to a public school – and they were the best years
of my life. And every day at school
I learnt something new, whether it was in the classroom or in the playground
through one of my friends. So I would suggest to all of you,
please use every minute you have at school, on school
to talk about the issues. For example, if there is a global
strike or something on that day, why don’t you speak
to your principal or teachers about having a forum or something
in your school where you can pass motions, and actually write
to your local member saying, “This is what our school believes
and this is what we want to change.” I mean, what if they want to
go out with other young people and protest in the street together
to show some kind of solidarity? You know what? I encourage protest,
but outside of school hours. I think you should protest
on school grounds if you… Maybe ask permission from your
teachers, but I strongly believe that school is there for a reason,
and I benefited enormously. I never thought one day I’d be
the Premier of New South Wales but it was because of my schooling,
my inspirational teachers. And if we felt strongly
about something, we’d go and talk to them about it. Why not organise a debate
or a forum? Or…you know, I think there are
so many creative ways to get your point across. But please don’t feel we’re not
listening to you – we are. I get it, I get it every day. One of my favourite things in my job
is visiting schools, whether it’s primary
or high schools. And I tell you, every child,
no matter where they live, which part of New South Wales,
raises climate change with me or plastic bags or something to do
with the environment. So please know we hear you. And maybe the next step is,
knowing that we’re hearing you, what would you like us
to specifically do? And I’d also say I appreciate
that when you feel there’s inaction, that the parties aren’t
doing enough for you, I would say, “Well, hold us
to account.” Make us accountable. Join our ranks. Doesn’t matter which side, but be part of the system,
be part of the change. Because I tell you,
when young people get together and have a strong voice,
it makes a difference. You can effect change. And that’s the one thing I learnt
when I was younger, and that’s what gave me
the confidence to get into politics, is you can make a difference.
Your voice matters. Don’t think it doesn’t. OK.
And we appreciate it. I’ll go back quickly to Varsha because I think you might… I mean,
the suggestion from the Premier is you can do all of this within school. Why do you need to strike
and leave the school grounds? With all due respect,
I think the fact that we have… ..as young people, we definitely
have tried to make our point that we want just transitions, that we want to see renewable energy
come into the picture. And the fact we haven’t seen this
makes us want to strike because it’s saying that
our education is important, but if there’s no future, then what’s the point
of having an education? If we’re having a low
quality of life, then what’s the point
of going to school? Because we need a sustainable
future, and we aren’t getting that. We aren’t getting any government
action on climate change, we aren’t seeing any
just transitions, and we need this. OK. I’ll go quickly
to the next question – it’s also on climate change,
slightly indirectly. It’s from Bibi O’Loghlin. 16-year-old climate change
activist Greta Thunberg’s activism has been discounted by people
who refuse to take her seriously because of her age and her diagnosis
of Asperger’s syndrome. We’re frequently encouraged
to create positive change as the future generation, but when young people
like Thunberg attempt to do this, they are patronised and ignored. How are we supposed
to create positive change when we are likely
to be disregarded? Aurora, I’ll start with you there. I mean, look, right now we have
a panel of four young people. We have a room full of young people. If that’s not showing you that we should take young people
seriously, I don’t know what is. Um, Greta is amazing. She is an inspiration. And, you know, I really don’t get why people patronise her
because of her age. So what that she’s young? She’s taking a stand
for what she believes in, she’s doing it in a right way, and she’s making a message
that is heard all around the world. That is so important
in this day and age as well. And I… Her… Back on her,
um, diagnosis of Asperger’s, I mean, just because a person
has a mental illness, or anything like that, doesn’t mean
they’re any different to us, and that we should take them
just as seriously. I mean, I myself have a disability and I’m being taken seriously
in this regard, and I think everyone should, no matter what their ability
or disability is. Aurora, what did you make
of Andrew Bolt’s comments about Greta Thunberg? “I’ve never seen a girl so young
with so many mental disorders “treated by so many adults
as a guru.” I…I have a personal opinion
on Andrew Bolt. Um… (LAUGHS)
(LAUGHTER) Don’t we all? Um, I mean, I… What about what he said though –
the implications of it? I just… I think it’s complete
nonsense, if I’m being honest. It’s complete nonsense. Yeah. I just… Him. (LAUGHS) That’s all I’m going to say
on that one. Willoughby, what do you think? Um, going to your question, Bibi, I don’t think young people
should be, um, speaked down to um, because of their age. Um, I don’t think we should be
discouraging young people from actually speaking about issues
that really matter to them. And it’s good to see that young
people do care about these issues. But as, um, Gladys touched on,
um, previously, there is, um, a right way
of going about, um, these things, um, and…
What’s the right way, do you think? Well, I think, um… (LAUGHS)
..what Gladys said about creative ideas
of protesting on campus, um, and going through a school
because we’re not… It’s… And Gladys also talked about this, is that we can’t make
a dramatic switch, um, to 100% renewable energy
just like that. And, um, we need to remember
that there are massive bureaucracies in the way of making these changes
as well. Um, but talking about
what you said, Tony, um, we do need to encourage
young people to speak out, um, but organising things
such as school debates and school forums will not only
encourage young people to speak out, but to also hone, um, in
what they believe in, and it will actually encourage
students to strengthen, um, on their debating skills, um, and thus, they will be able
to better communicate their ideas to the public and make
a really strong difference in the public debate. Willoughby, do you have any thoughts
about Greta Thunberg, and the extraordinary impact, um,
this young woman from Sweden has had on the rest of the world? She’s certainly mobilised
huge numbers of young people across the planet. Oh, there’s no doubt
that Greta Thunberg has made a massive difference,
um, in this debate, and it’s good to see
that young people are stepping up, um, in this situation. It’s something
that should be encouraged, is that young people do speak out and that they do care
about these issues. Going to Andrew Bolt’s comments
if I may – um, just not right,
bang out of order. Um, you shouldn’t be talked down to
because of your age, or whatever disability you have, because how are we supposed to
encourage people to debate and speak if we’re just saying, “You’re a disturbed messiah
of the climate change movement,” or whatever. Um, so there is a right way
of going about these things, and, um, Andrew Bolt certainly,
with those comments, um, is not going down
the right path. The voice of civil society.
Thank you very much. Um, Varsha? Um, well, Greta Thunberg has been
so inspiring. I know I’ve personally been
so inspired by her. And I think that instead of using
that platform that Andrew Bolt has to…to criticise her like that, he needs to congratulate her
for being able to overcome those, um, disabilities,
or whatever they may be, because that’s amazing
that a young person is able to mobilise a global movement
that is attempting to achieve change when our politicians
clearly aren’t doing enough. So, I think we should
congratulate her more than anything. Yeah, well, um, in Loxton, um,
had you heard of Greta Thunberg? Yes, I have heard
of Greta Thunberg before, and I think it’s great
when youth get out there and make a stand
for what they believe in and are able to explain
why they believe it, and able to, yeah, represent why they believe
what they believe too. And I think we need to have
free speech in this country. Did you get a chance
to actually watch her talking? Uh, no, I haven’t really ever
watched her give a speech before, I’ll be honest with you,
but, yeah, I will just say that, like, um, you know
how she’s going on her sailing trip at the moment? I kind of…
Yeah, ’cause her parents, a lot of them are actually flying
over on planes too. So, although it’s good
that she’s, um… (LAUGHS) ..trying to show how she’s
reducing carbon emissions, it’s kind of a bit
of hypocrisy there because a lot of her, um,
family members are coming over on planes. Well, uh, I’m just going to
bring you up on something. You come from a…an area,
the Murray River. Yes.
It’s obviously, prone to bad drought. It could be,
according to scientific opinion, prone to terrible, um, conditions
if climate change worsens. But you’re sceptical about the nature
of climate change, aren’t you? Yes, I am a little bit
sceptical of it. Um, yeah, at the moment,
in the Murray-Darling Basin, we’re suffering terrible droughts,
and all over South Australia too. It’s just… it’s just devastating
what we’re seeing as well. And although I am
a bit sceptical of it, I don’t believe it should just be…
just chucked away. I think we need to actually
look at it too, and have a respectful debate
about it. We can’t just say,
“It’s definitely this,” but we have to, um, ensure
that we’re having a debate about it to make sure we find the right way and ensure we’re doing
the best thing for Australia. I want to get quick comments
from the two politicians if I can. Uh, first of all, Premier.
Oh, thank you. Can I say, one of the most inspiring
human beings I’ve ever come across is Malala…
Can’t remember her last name. The 14-year-old…
Yousafzai. Yeah, 14-year-old who fought
for the right just to go to school and nearly died. I get shivers when I think
about her story. And there’s an example
of a young person who has changed the attitude
of the globe and brought attention
to such an important issue, so… What’s your message to Andrew Bolt? Uh, my message to everybody is respect what young people
have to say. And, uh…and I was saying to, um… ..to some of the young panellists
before that one of my favourite things
in my job is to visit schools. And I often get inspired by ideas young people bring to me
and tell me. Uh, so I would never, ever discount
what young people can achieve because history has shown that age
isn’t a barrier for inspiring others and for bringing them to your cause. It’s just a question
of how you do it, and how you bring people
along with you. And I think that’s really the key
to inspiring change. It’s how can you bring people
to your cause? And in Malala’s case,
it was her absolute courage. Her life had already been
threatened. It could have been threatened again
and she didn’t care. She stood up
for what she believed in, and I think that’s a great example
of a young person really changing the course
of history and bringing attention
to something that’s so important. Kristina Keneally.
I’ll come back to you. At the risk of sounding like the, uh, old hand giving advice
to the next generation, here is something I think
Gladys and I would both agree on in terms of politics –
it’s adversarial. You’re going to have to
fight and argue. You’ll come up against opposition. Everything you believe in
is going to be contested by someone else, and you’re
going to have to agitate. And sometimes,
that’s going to get personal and sometimes people
are going to get nasty. And sometimes, they’re going
to try to find ways to undermine you and undercut you. And the argument I would take
out of, um, Greta’s experience and Andrew Bolt’s comments is the more that people push back,
the more effective you must be. The more they argue against you, the more threatened they must be
by the argument you are making. And take that and wear it
as a badge of honour. You know, if Andrew Bolt’s
attacking you, you must be doing something right. (LAUGHTER) You must be having an impact. You must be influencing
other people. You know, and the value
that you have as change agents isn’t in whether or not
everybody agrees with you because that’s just
not going to happen. The value you have
is the impact that you have, and the power you have,
and the ability you have to achieve change. And part of that is going to
have to be withstanding the anger and the upset that causing change
is going to inspire in other people, in your opponents. And yes, respect is part of it. You know, my view is
don’t play the man, play the ball. But there are going to be
other people who don’t play by those rules. And develop a tough skin
and wear it as a badge of honour when someone like Andrew Bolt
attacks you. Um, I’m going to move on because we’ve got so many questions
to get through. You’re watching the Q&A
high school special. Our next question comes from
Grace Alston. Premier, you recently delayed
the vote to decriminalise abortion because of pressure
from conservative MPs. Why are you allowing a minority
of conservative voices to influence the vote
on the bodily autonomy of women and their right to be in control of their bodies
and individual choices? Um, thank you for the question,
and I appreciate you asking it. Um, I think it’s really important
on issues of conscience, which is what that is, to make sure that people feel
they’ve been heard, to make sure people feel
they’ve had a chance to consider all parts of the issue. And I appreciate that there are
very strong views on this issue. New South Wales is the only state
that hasn’t taken that step. In fact, in South Australia,
they took the step 50 years ago. Let’s just explain for the audience
who don’t know what the step is. It removes…
Your bill would remove abortion from the New South Wales Crimes Act so that it’s regulated
as a health issue. That’s right. But it…
I should say it’s not my bill. It’s not a government bill. Yeah.
It was actually brought forward by a private member,
so an independent member brought forward the bill. And when there is
an issue like that, our parties allow
what’s called a conscience vote. It doesn’t happen very often, but it means
that every member of parliament can vote according
to their conscience, or according to
what their community feels as opposed to what the party feels. So, they’re…
It’s a free vote, in other words. Again, it doesn’t happen very often. But there are members of your party,
the right wing, blaming you for allowing it
to actually happen. Well…well…
So, that’s why they say it’s your bill, in a sense. Have you…have you actually
sort of shaken a hornet’s nest here? Because, you know,
there are some who are saying this could cost you your premiership. Well, I say to everybody, um, you know, in…in…
when you’re a member of parliament, you have to stand up
and do what you believe is right. And I feel that everybody
can consider… ..look into their own conscience, can consider what their community,
their electorate thinks, and then vote accordingly. And again, it’s
a rare opportunity to do that, and I’ve encouraged
all of my colleagues to take that opportunity. And some felt we needed
a bit more time, and I listened and I agreed. And I think, uh,
it’s appropriate for us to…to bring everybody together. We want a…we want a society
that is actually brought together and not divided
by issues like this because… I’m going to bring you
to the question, though. Yep.
I mean, is your leadership under threat if you push it too hard? No. I believe this is an issue
which has the potential to find enormous common ground. And when you listen
to the speeches that people gave, if you listen to the attitudes
that people had, there was so much
common ground there. And I think we need
to be respectful, to know that for some issues
like that, it’s very deeply personal. And we have to give people
the opportunity to express themselves and have time
to consider their views. But you are determined
to have the vote? Well, the bill…
It’s a private member’s bill and there’s a process in place, and that has to come
to its conclusion. OK. Aurora, what do you think
about the politics of this? It’s interesting how it’s emerged. A lot of people – a lot of women,
actually – wouldn’t have even known that abortion was in the Crimes Act
in New South Wales? Um, I mean,
as a Legal Studies student, I’m aware that it is
in the Crimes Act of New South Wales. And, for me, it comes down to ‘it’s my body, it’s my choice’. Really, I get that, you know,
there is two sides to the story. You know, abortion, for some,
is not what they want and abortion for others
is necessary. And, you know, I respect
everyone’s opinions on that, and I respect, you know,
having to give people time to go over those opinions as such. But for me, at the end of the day,
it comes down to, it’s not you getting the abortion. It’s some woman
getting the abortion. It’s my body, it’s my choice, it’s my idea of what
I want to do with my future. And I think that really is something that’s been carried on
through a lot of young women today. You can see
with the protests that happened outside of the
New South Wales parliament with this bill coming into play it is so important
that we listen to young people and realise
that my body is my choice. OK, not everyone has the same view. We’ve got a question from someone
who doesn’t. Uh, Danielle Safi. I was once a 20-week-old foetus
in my mother’s womb. 20 weeks old. Had my mother made
the heart-wrenching decision to terminate my pregnancy, I would not be here
talking to you today. I deeply respect
the rights of women, especially over their bodies. However, the life in the womb
is another person with dreams and aspirations
of their own. When will hearts and minds change so that we might, as a community, recognise the rights
of these little ones to live? Willoughby, I saw you nodding there,
so I’ll come to you first. Thank you for your question,
Danielle. And we need to remember
that the issue of abortion is one that is extremely sensitive, and it’s an important decision that is before
the New South Wales government. In terms of going to your question,
um, yes, um, it is a serious issue. And, um, we need to remember as well that twenty-odd thousand people
protested against this bill in the streets of the Sydney CBD, and we’ve seen similar numbers
in Melbourne as well. So this is a big wake-up call
to actually say that there are large amounts
of people who are against this bill. Um, and I think that people do need
to recognise that that life, that that baby, that foetus
is a baby, and it is a life, and it has just as many rights as someone who is out of the womb. It has just as many rights. That is something that we truly need
to honour as a society. Um, to be a compassionate society and one that values
the sanctity of life. Varsha. Um, so I believe that,
if we don’t decriminalise this, all we’re going to see is just
rising post-partum depression, rising child negligence, because if women do not have
the autonomy, if we do not have the authority, if we don’t have the responsibility, and just the liberation
to make our own choice… Because, like Aurora said,
it’s our body, our choice. It’s my body, it’s my choice. I should have the right
to do what I want. Women have been oppressed
for centuries, and I don’t think that this… I think that passing this bill, allowing us
to decriminalise the act, gives us that autonomy. And I think we need that. Because I do agree
that life is beautiful, and that life is so precious to us, but I also think if the child does
not have a good quality of life, then I really don’t know
if that’s worth it. Uh, Kristina, I’ll come to you first. I mean, you’re a strong Catholic, and
I’d like to get your opinion on this. I know you’ve had a position
for a long time about abortion. But what do you think about
the bill here, the decriminalisation? Abortion, obviously,
has been going on in New South Wales for a very long time, and people aren’t going
to jail for it. So, um, the decriminalisation bill, doesn’t that just recognise something
that’s already happening? On one level you’re right, Tony – it does recognise a reality
that’s already occurring. And when I was premier,
10 years ago, there wouldn’t have been
the numbers in the parliament to pass this legislation,
nonetheless. But it does recognise
what’s already happening. I want to say to Danielle, you know, I had a stillborn baby
at 20 weeks – Caroline. I held her, I buried her. She’s part of my family,
I have photos of her at home. But I have to say
I have always believed that abortion should be safe, it should be legal,
and it should be rare. I would like to see a society
where all of us have access to effective and inexpensive,
reliable birth control. But I also recognise
that life is messy, it’s not always straightforward,
it doesn’t always go as we plan, and that that option
of a medical service, and a decision that should be made
between a woman and her doctor, should be available. What I would say to Will is,
while I have a lot of sympathy with your view about the sanctity
of life and life before birth, I don’t think it’s
as simple as saying that there is a point
in the process where the person has
the absolute same equal rights, the baby in the womb,
as a person outside the womb. For me, personally, I would say that comes, you know, after about the point of viability. But the point of viability
keeps moving earlier and earlier in pregnancy, and it’s going to challenge us
legally and ethically as a society as it does. But the reality is
this is a complex matter. It is not something we can deal with
simply or with absolutes. I don’t agree with all pro-lifers that all…that life has complete
and utter human rights on the point of conception
to the point of birth. Nor do I agree with all pro-choicers
that it has no rights at all. I think this legislation
recognises a reality that’s happening
in New South Wales – that abortion is a choice that some people do need to have
available to them, and it’s taking out
the criminal aspect of it. And I have already written
to the Premier to express to her my support for it. I’m not too upset that she’s
delayed it, I have to say. I think there’s some complexities
about this legislation, that the upper house needs the time
to do the job that an upper house does. One I would point out, as I’ve pointed out to the Premier
in my letter, is that the way we collect data
in this state doesn’t allow us to distinguish between miscarriage,
stillbirth, and abortion. And this is an opportunity,
by decriminalising it, to change that so that we could
actually get some good data about what’s happening
in women’s lives, medically. And that would be really useful. OK, I want to go to William
down the end, but, just before I do that, Premier, you’ve heard what the young
women on this panel have said, and I’m wondering whether you,
personally, regard this
as primarily a women’s issue – the right to choose
what happens to your body? Um, whilst it’s
a very important issue for women, I think it is broader than that. I think everybody’s entitled
to an opinion on this issue. Uh, many couples, families
are involved, impacted by decisions made,
by situations that arise. So I think it’s broader
than just a women’s issue. I do feel it’s an issue
for the broader community. But I also find it interesting that other states
certainly haven’t had the level of public debate
New South Wales has had. As I said, South Australia
went down this path 50 years ago. Every other state’s
been down this path. They don’t have Barnaby Joyce.
Well… (LAUGHTER) I don’t even think it’s that. I think what we have to accept, what we have to accept,
which is really important, is whilst the majority of citizens,
I feel, would support decriminalisation, there is a group of people
who feel very strongly that it should never even be legal. And we have to accept that. People have strong views,
strong faith, and I respect that. That’s what democracy is about. And, so long as the debate happens
in a respectful way, and everybody has the chance
to put their case down and try and convince each other
of their case, I think that’s
what healthy democracy is about. And, um, I’ve respected
every opinion that I’ve heard. Everyone who’s written to me, I’ve
tried to write back personally… ..personally to. And it’s one
of these rare opportunities where party votes don’t matter. Every individual is equal. So every member of parliament
has an equal right. The premier doesn’t get more votes
than an ordinary backbencher. We’re all equal in this. And we all have to, you know,
dig deep to find out what we believe
is the right thing to do. William? Yeah, it’s a very sensitive issue
at the moment, and it’s a…we need to be careful. But, um, I feel that we need to, um, for women that are having… ..that are having to go
through this, it’s a very tough time for them, and I think we need to make sure there’s support services
out there for them to ensure that, um… Because, even in my home state, I’ve known people that have been
told to have abortions because they feel like
their kids aren’t going to… ..the doctors have told them
the kids aren’t going to be healthy, they’re not going to be alive…
um, very well. And the baby’s been born,
and they’ve been perfectly healthy and they’ve grown up to live
very good, prosperous lives. But we need to ensure that we’ve
got good support services out there to women, to help them. Because, like, the big issues
for abortion are financial issues and, um, not feeling
like they’ve got the support, and health issues, like,
health of the baby, too. So we need to make sure
we’re there to support them. OK, thank you. Let’s move on. Remember, if you hear
any doubtful claims on Q&A, let us know on Twitter. Keep an eye
on the RMIT ABC Fact Check and The Conversation website
for the results. The next question comes
from Lara Mason. According to a University
of New South Wales report released this month, strip searches conducted by police
has risen almost twentyfold in less than 12 years. Many of these occur
at music festivals. How can young people feel assured
that when we attend these festivals that our right to privacy
and freedom is protected? Well, Premier, I’ll start with you, because you’re the ultimate, um,
well, power here, I suppose. (LAUGHTER)
Can, uh… Can I say,
without divulging confidences, I actually had some parents
raise something concerning that they felt happened
to their daughter, and I actually listened
to their issues, and the Police Commissioner
of New South Wales very kindly did as well. So we want to make sure people are
safe when they attend any event, music festival or otherwise, but also that they’re treated
respectfully and appropriately. So, um, we’re always looking at ways
in which we can improve the respect that young people feel
they’re receiving. But also, um, the difficult thing
that I have as premier is, you know, first and foremost,
keeping the community safe. And it’s always difficult
knowing where to draw the line on what community safety means. So what do you make of the argument
that festivalgoers who inevitably… ..young festivalgoers who inevitably
use…will use drugs – you know that’s going to happen – will be safer if you allow
pill testing at festivals? Yeah, look, a lot of people
raise this issue with me. And if I thought
there was concrete evidence to say that pill testing
would save lives, we’d go down that path,
but, unfortunately, there isn’t. And I explain why. Unfortunately, a number of deaths that have occurred
in New South Wales – and I can’t imagine what the families and friends
would go through if a young person was
tragically taken that way – is that it’s the actual pure drug
that’s killing the young people. So, even though
the pill test might say, “This is a pure drug, there’s
no other substance in there,” that can still kill a young person. And I couldn’t live with myself if young people were given
a false sense of security. And people say,
“Oh, you might save one life,” well, potentially,
you might take 20 others by giving people a false sense
of security that the pill is OK. Uh, the bottom line is, and you could call me
old-fashioned if you like, but illegal drugs are illegal
for a reason. And everybody’s body is different. And one dose might impact
one person one way. But I just say
if a substance is illegal, it’s illegal for a reason. Please go and have fun
and enjoy yourselves, but don’t risk not coming back
to your family and friends, because there’s nothing worse
than seeing a young person’s life… Let’s quickly go back
to our questioner. Lara, um, are you convinced
by these arguments? Well, according to the same report, between 62% and 65% of the time, no drugs were actually found
on people strip-searched. So why would…like, why would
my privacy have to be threatened by the 30% to 40%
who decide to take illegal drugs or to supply at music festivals? So I don’t understand why,
like, I would… ..like, my privacy
would have to be compromised when the majority of people
are doing the right thing. Yeah, you mentioned that parents
have to come to you and… Yeah, no, parents have come to me… Some people would see strip searching
as somehow akin to sexual abuse. Well, definitely,
I say to the point you raise that when concerns were raised
with me, I then pursued them. And if there’s a better way
for us to keep young people safe of course we’ll look at that. There’s no doubt that we need to make sure we’re having better conversations
with young people. Why has the incidence of drug-taking
increased at these festivals? Why are people dying? Why are people
sustaining serious injury? And I think
what people are crying out for, whether it’s arguing
for pill testing or otherwise, young people want to have
a conversation. They want to know
what’s safe, what’s not. And, you know, I think there’s an obligation on governments to have that conversation
with young people. But by the same token,
I’d say to young people, “Things are illegal for a reason. “We’re trying to keep
everybody safe. “And pill testing
won’t solve the problem.” Alright, let’s have a quick
conversation… Yep, sure. Yep.
..with the young people here. And Aurora, we’ll start with you. Well, for me, I do agree. You know, you shouldn’t risk
your life over one pill. And I understand that young people
are still going to, you know, venture into the world of drugs
and alcohol – it’s inevitable. In Australia we have a culture of, you know, savouring underage
drinking and drug-taking. It’s a thing. In my trips over in America
people are like, “Do people in Australia
really underage drink? “Do you really take drugs?” Yes, it’s a fact we do. I know people in my school
who have done it. I know people in my community
who have done it. And I think it’s true, government does need to have that conversation
with young people – you know, “What’s safe? What’s not?
How can we help?” And I think that’s really important. And, you know, I have to agree
with Gladys on this one – until there is concrete evidence that pill testing is going to help, I think, you know, there’s
no way of going about it without the evidence backing it. What do you think, William?
I agree with Gladys here because it is just important
to keep Australians safe and keep our youth safe too. ‘Cause I couldn’t imagine
what it would be like for a mother and father
if they came home and found out that their child had died because, yeah, they’d
taken a pill at a festival, and it would just be terrible. Varsha? I completely agree with the premier on the fact we need
a conversation with young people. But I don’t think there’s been a way that we’ve really facilitated
this conversation. And, for me, I believe that
pill testing at music festivals, from what I’ve read
and from what I’ve heard is that when people
go to these pill-testing tents, they have a conversation
with a professional. And a lot of the times
they re-evaluate their choices, they rethink whether they
actually want to take this drug. And I think those re-evaluations
are so necessary and they’re so vital and they’re showing us that perhaps pill-testing
is the answer because for a lot of people
these strip searches are… ..they’re just very triggering
of past, like, sexual assaults or anything that they’ve had. Like, a lot of interviews
have said that. And I think, for women,
and for males it’s just so important
to consider that, because I don’t think
we want anybody to have those kind of experiences. Kristina? So, when I was premier, we legalised the Kings Cross
injecting centre. Labor brought it in
in the 1990s. Yeah, I do think harm minimisation
has a role to play. I do think that pill testing
deserves a trial in New South Wales. I don’t know where
we’re going to get the evidence as to whether it works or not
until we have a trial. And I know that
when we have the opportunity to have these conversations,
an intervention of sort, we can guide people to having…making better decisions
at the most crucial point. You know, the Premier is correct
to raise some of the risks. But the risks are already there. People are taking these drugs. And as much as my youngest child, who loves to go to music festivals and gets a lecture
from his mother every time, you know, “Don’t put anything
in your mouth,” I’m well aware that there are young people
that are going to do that. Can I say, on the point
about policing, that the police have a job
to enforce the existing laws. The methods that they use, though, are something that you can write
to your local member about, you can write to
the Police Minister about, you can raise with the parliament because the police
are literally doing the job that they’re being asked to do
by the parliament. It is up… If there are concerns – and, you know, people have already
raised them with the Premier – they need to be taken up
with the parliament. Willoughby? Yeah, thank you
for your question, Georgia, and I think it’s
a really important issue because there are young people who
do want to go to music festivals and have a good time, but I think we need
to remember as well, as the majority of the panel
have pointed out, that you…we need to remember that
these pills, they do have the potential
to kill people. And it’s extremely unfortunate when kids just have these pills
in hand and they think that, “I’ll just have this
and I’ll have a good time.” And I think we need to encourage… Our first line of defence
should be to encourage more programs to be able to educate children
about – and teenagers – the potential harm
of taking a pill that you don’t know about,
you just have it in your hand. Because I couldn’t imagine
there would be nothing worse than not coming home
to see your parents. It would just be
extremely unfortunate. And I think that it does lack
concrete evidence, that pill-testing does work. Until such a time
that we can find that, I think that we should… ..that there are more measures
that we can take. Educating our youth about
the dangers of taking these pills. Because Aurora is right, that we do have this culture of
underage drinking and drug-taking and it’s unfortunate
and that shouldn’t be the case. So I think that, yeah,
more education programs to inform our youth, to make sure
that they are best equipped to go about their business
in a fun way, but in a safe way. OK, let’s move on. We’ve got
quite a few issues to cover still. This question from Georgia Hansard. Georgia? After Alan Jones made
offensive comments regarding New Zealand’s
prime minister, Jacinda Ardern, telling Scott Morrison to
“shove a sock down her throat”, he claimed that he is the victim
of a ruthless social media campaign. An everyday Australian would simply be fired from
their workplace for such comments. So, why, when someone with a
high public profile is not… So, why is someone
with a high public profile not held to the same level
of accountability? Premier, at risk of
offending Alan Jones? (LAUGHTER) Look, can I say a lot has been said
on that topic. But can I say generally,
this isn’t an issue that’s come up once
in these circumstances. Lots of people from time to time
have made comments of this nature. And I think no matter how strongly
you feel about any topic, the important thing is
to talk about it respectfully. And I think that’s a given. What I tend to do
in all circumstances is when you’re in
a position like mine, you need to focus
on your job at hand. And I find, especially in the age
of 24-hour media cycles, so much is said every hour,
every day, day after day and what’s really important
in this environment is for all of us to stay focused on what we believe
is the right thing but also focused
on the job we have at hand. And obviously people differ
on their views as to how offensive a comment
may or may not be. And if anybody feels like that, well, you’ve got the chance
to call it out and you should. But having said that,
I think, generally speaking… ..I have been in positions
on many occasions where things are said
in lots of different environments. And I think the message to learn is all of us always need to be
respectful to each other. Do you think that… I mean, there’s a tradition,
isn’t there, of politicians being intimidated
by Alan Jones and it’s traditionally
been seen as kind of dangerous to criticise him. And whilst I appreciate
what you’re saying, I wonder if you’re steering away
from any direct criticism of him for that reason? Well, can I say that
I’ve been…I’ve felt personally offended
by many journalists on different radio stations
in different places. I mean, it’s not…
I think it’s unfair to limit it to one person, to be honest. Because I’ve been in situations
where I’ve thought, “Gee, I wish someone
would stick up for me “and say something about that.” But I think what is important
is for all of us to… If we, you know…
And people have different versions of what they find offensive
and what… And obviously,
sometimes there are clear-cut cases, but in other times,
it’s not so clear. People should call it out because we need
a culture of respect, a culture of where people feel
their contribution or how they’re being questioned
by somebody is in a fair circumstance. And I think, unfortunately,
there’s lots of occasions around where people can feel offended
by those comments. Aurora, what do you think? Alan Jones is threatened
by a powerful woman. That’s my opinion on that one! Jacinda Ardern is just…
She is amazing. And, you know, for Alan Jones to
come along and play the victim card, you know, for someone who is prone
to making bullying comments, I guess, about people, it’s…
I kind of find that funny that he has gone on
to play the victim card here. Yeah. William, what do you reckon? I think what Alan said was…
Yeah, he was completely wrong to say those comments about her, but I also believe the message he
was trying to send at the same time, I didn’t think it was necessary for Jacinda to say the things
about Australia too. Like, to bring Australia
into that whole… ..yeah, talk about us in the Pacific
discussion too like that. So, you took the view that she was kind of interfering
in Australian politics? Yeah, in a way, yes, I did.
And, um… But I do not think
what he said was appropriate at all. Varsha? Um, I completely agree with Aurora, the fact Alan Jones
is just threatened. Because this amazing writer
Andrea Dworkin once said that, “Feminism requires precisely what
the patriarchy destroys in women – “unimpeachable bravery.” And I believe that Jacinda Ardern
is the emblem of that. She has just…she has just
done so much. She’s so powerful as a woman. And I think
that’s so, so, so important. And the fact that our politicians… Like, we want to see
more women in parliament, obviously, and I think Jacinda Ardern
is a symbol for that. And I think Alan Jones
is simply just threatened. Kristina, a brief answer? Uh, Alan was wrong. I have a really good relationship
with Alan. I’ve known him
for more than a decade. And I tell him when he’s wrong. And I will be seeing him later
this week, and I’ll tell him then. I told him he was wrong when he said
what he said about Julia Gillard. You asked why Alan is on air still. He’s on air because he rates.
Let’s just be blunt about it. It’s a market and he rates
and people listen to him. If you’ve don’t like what
he’s saying, don’t listen to him – that’s part of
taking away the power. And Gladys is right as well –
if you don’t like what he’s saying, stand up and have
an argument about it. You know, the reality is
people like that are always going to have a platform and in some ways
that platform is growing. You know, look at
Sky News After Dark. That platform is growing
in Australia. And so it’s incumbent
that we are having… It’s growing to
a very small audience, to be fair. Well, yes, I mean, you know… You’re probably talking about
5,000 people watching at that time. Anyway, let’s…
They can correct me on that. That’s a fact-check you can do, Sky. I used to work for Sky. I could probably fact-check you
right here, but I won’t! (LAUGHS) You can if you like.
You want to double that? Willoughby, what do you think? Yeah, certainly those comments
were just bang out of order. Just a “what were you thinking?”
sort of moment. But I do agree with William that what he was actually
trying to say was taken away by the fact that
he made that comment, which was just
grossly inappropriate. Um, the thing with Alan
is that he… I agree with Kristina, he rates,
and that’s why… And he apologises from time to time. Well, I…I don’t really
accept his apology because he was making excuses
during the apology. So, it’s not a sincere apology
to begin with. So… It’s clear that you haven’t yet
been elected. No, no.
(LAUGHTER) BEREJIKLIAN: Give him time, give him
a few years. He’ll get there! I’m only kidding.
Yeah, I know. But I certainly think
that I see where Alan… So, just to clear up again,
those comments – poor, definitely wrong, no-one should be talking
to anyone like that, full stop. Just completely disrespectful. But I can see where Alan
was trying to say that he didn’t appreciate,
as an Australian, being talked down to
by a foreign prime minister. And I think that the issue
that was at hand was about the Pacific Solution
to climate change and I think that
that’s a really important issue, particularly to Australia, particularly in the region
of the Pacific, because we are seeing that China is starting to exert its dominance
over that Pacific region. And Alan was simply… I think what he was
trying to say was is that, really,
this is our problem and let us take care of it. But the comments were wrong and they shouldn’t be
repeated again. Thank you, Willoughby. The next
question comes from Ellen Lavis. At Corowa High School,
there is a low student enrolment compared to other schools
in the area and the amount of youth in the town, with families preferring to send
their children on long bus trips to major private high schools
in other cities. This results in fewer opportunities for students
of the public school system. For example, future Year 12 students are unable
to study the course they want because of low numbers
at our school and fewer teachers causing courses to be cancelled. How do we get more students back
to the public system and more opportunities
for Australia’s future in the regional areas? William, I’ll start with you.
Yeah. Um, yeah, for me, I go to a really good
public high school in Loxton. They’ve given me
so many opportunities and the teachers work really hard
for all of us and so do our community members, and I think
that’s what’s really important to get a really good school – have a strong community behind you and have strong teachers
that really care. For that to work, we need to make sure
we’re doing strategic funding too, to get the best economic outcomes. So, make sure we’re, yeah, looking
at how we can best put money in to get the best outcomes
for education in schools. And the issue of zoning for city students
and stuff is not good. We need to make sure
all schools are the same because we all deserve
to have a quality education and we all deserve to have
the same education as one another. Gladys Berejiklian?
Thank you for the great question. I’m a product of
the public education system in New South Wales –
in fact, when I started school, I couldn’t speak English
on the first day of school – and so I had inspiring teachers
who really showed me the way and really allowed me
to get a great education. I’m proud that, in New South Wales,
we’re spending record amounts in public education,
more than ever before. We’re building
190 brand-new schools, upgrading existing schools,
clearing the backlog, but we also know
it’s not just the new buildings, it’s what’s happening
inside the classroom. And we need to support our teachers, we need to inspire them
to be able to do their job well, and if there’s a specific reason why people aren’t going to
a particular school, we need to work out why and
deal with it at a very local level because there isn’t
a one-size-fits-all. Different communities have
different responses or different situations, and I think
it’s really important for us, and that’s what we try and do
in New South Wales. If we do see there’s a challenge
around one school, what’s occurring there
that’s not occurring elsewhere? How do you deal with that? It’s a critical issue
in the cities as well… It is. It is. ..because you get school shopping
going on with people moving to
higher socio-economic public schools because they think they’re going to
get a better education for their children, and, often, the results prove
they’re right. Well, look, we always support
a parent’s right to choose where they send their child. But we also have a fantastic program
in New South Wales, which I hope I have quick time
to explain, called Bump It Up. So, we looked at some schools
which weren’t doing as well in literacy and numeracy
as other schools, and then we tried to work out
why that was, and we actually got to
the root cause. And at least two-thirds
of those schools we focused on get better results in education and that meant more students
coming to the school. So, we’ve actually got this program and the pilot was so successful – we started it out
in about 30 schools – and it’s been so successful, I said to the Minister
and to the Education Department, “Let’s make this practice,” and now that’s policy
in New South Wales. So, we make sure if there’s
a school that, for whatever reason, isn’t doing as well
as schools around it, we actually go into the school,
ask the right questions and the teachers and principals
involved have been amazing because rather than saying,
“Why are you looking at us?”, they’re saying,
“Help us make our school better.” It’s been just a wonderful response.
Aurora, what do you think? I mean, I have been to
both public and Catholic schools, so, for me, I have to agree with
what the Premier is saying here. You know, I really encourage
the Bump It Up program. I think that is a great initiative, and with what Will said,
looking at strategic funding and making sure it’s going into
the right places is really important as well. Varsha? Um, so, personally for me, I moved areas, like, where I lived,
to go to a certain school, and I think I can say that
a lot of people have done this too. And I think what this does is it fosters certain areas
to be academically excelling, doing really well in, like,
arts programs, sports programs, and then you have these other areas
which are just left behind. And I think programs like Bump It Up
are just amazing, but we just need to see
an increase in them because, especially with regional
and city schools, there’s definitely a difference
in funding and just, like, transportation
in itself. So, I think if we saw an increase
in terms of infrastructure, transportation and more prevalence
in programs like Bump it Up, then I definitely see that Australia could be a lot more prosperous
in their education system. So, Varsha, are you saying your family took
a kind of positive choice to seek out the best public school
you could find? Yeah, for sure. It was just… It’s kind of… Especially coming from
an Indian heritage personally, I can say that there’s just a search for, like,
the best education system or… ..just things like that, and I know that that’s one of
the reasons I moved suburbs, yeah. Kristina? First, I would like to pay tribute
to New South Wales government because under the…Gladys
and her predecessor Mike Baird, they were the first to stand up
for the Gonski funding and to agitate for proper funding
for public schools, and they took a real leadership role
at a risky time, that is when they were opposing
their own Liberal counterparts at the federal level. And so I think that deserves
to be acknowledged, but we’re talking about
a national challenge here and that does require
a national solution, and the Commonwealth government has
a significant role to play in that. You know, where I will have
a great deal of sympathy for all of our state governments is that they are being asked
to manage growth in population, often in areas that, you know,
they don’t have much control over – where people…who moves
to their state and how many people move there – they’re being asked to manage that
with limited resources, and they are dependent
on a Commonwealth government that redistributes the tax dollars and determines how much can go into
areas like education and health. And so what New South Wales did
was incredibly important. It is incredibly important
that we have… ..we have got a properly funded
public education system. I do think there are a range,
though, of inequality in our system. Public and private is one.
Regional and urban is one. And then when we get into
the tertiary sector, TAFE, where we’ve had cuts
to TAFE funding, and apprenticeships
and traineeships versus universities is another. And, you know, there is… This is the fundamental basis for reducing inequality
in our community. And what do we know right now?
It’s growing. And so, you know,
my argument would be that we need proper investment
from the Commonwealth in all stages, and particularly in all levels,
of public education, and in that I would particularly
include TAFE and what comes after
the high school sector. Willoughby? Yeah. Thank you
for your question, Ellen. And I think it comes to a
broader issue about schools funding, but one thing that we do
need to remember, as well, is that it’s not a perfect system and it’s one that certainly
is flawed and there’s always a spectrum of
schools in terms of their quality. And I think that what we’re seeing
in this country now, on a broader scale, is that
people are leaving the regions and moving into the cities and that’s something that is
extremely concerning because infrastructure can’t keep up
with this population boom. But going more directly
to your question about the education sector, I totally agree with William that everybody should be able to
access a world-class education, particularly in a country
like Australia. I tell you what, if we could prove that the regional schools were just
as good as the ones in the city, people wouldn’t leave
in such numbers, I suspect. KENEALLY: Can I interject here,
though? To be blunt,
the Commonwealth right now is really trying to send its net…
sorry, its temporary migration, in particular, to the regions. They have a number of programs that are really focused at trying
to get people to the regions. Now, you can make lots of arguments about whether or not
the services are there or the jobs are there to support it but some regional communities
are actually saying this is actually going to help
keep our schools and hospitals open. There are other challenges
that come with that, and I’m not entirely convinced
the Commonwealth is yet investing in addressing
some of those other challenges, but there is a potential there,
a potential. Willoughby, we did cut you off,
so a quick 30-second answer. Yeah, so going back to
your question, Ellen, in terms of education, I think that there is certainly more
that has to be done to make sure that children
all across Australia can have that access
to a quality education. And education is something that
really does set you up for life, that has been touched on, and I think that everybody should be
able to access that. It doesn’t matter whether you’re
public school, private school, regional, cities, and it’s something that needs to be
looked at, I think, definitely. Right, sadly and as always,
we’re running out of time. We have time for one last question.
It’s from Connor Ryan. Connor? Despite wearing a uniform
to look presentable, why is wearing a uniform
so imperative to how students learn in schools? How does a uniform affect
the actual learning of students? I like this topic.
Good question. Alright, we’re all wearing uniforms
on this panel. How much time do I have? I personally like wearing a uniform. Like, it just gives me pride in my
school, too, in what I wear as well. And, yeah, we don’t normally wear this uniform
everywhere around school, this is just our…a bit of
our showy uniform. (LAUGHTER) You look very smart, by the way.
Thank you. Your national television uniform. Yes, this is
our national television uniform. Every school should have one.
Gladys, what do you think? I love the idea
of a school uniform – you’d expect me to say that –
but I’ll tell you why, because I feel
it actually is equalising. Everybody’s the same, so people… ..not everybody can afford
the best clothes or the best way to look, and I just feel everybody
can take pride in their school, pride in their uniform and not be judged
by what they’re wearing, and that’s something
I’m proud of the Australian system. I actually think it’s a positive. I’ve seen systems elsewhere – and Kristina’s actually gone to
a US school so she might have some insights –
but I feel that a uniform makes… ..every time
we enter the school gate, we’re all equal,
we’re all there to learn and do our best and be our best and I think
the uniform reflects that. Aurora, is it an equalising factor? It definitely is. And it’s also great
not having to wake up every morning and pick out an outfit – I know exactly
what I’m going to be wearing. When I was living in Colorado, I think I tried for the first
two weeks to pick out an outfit and then it was pyjamas
from then on out. I was not bothered
to keep changing my clothes. And it definitely is
an equalising factor. I mean, we all look as one, we are not comparing, you know,
who’s got this label, who’s got that label, who has the better clothes,
who has the more expensive clothes. It’s…we all wear the same uniform, we all come in to the school gate
looking the same. And, you know, some people may argue
that it’s a factor of uniqueness, it’s not going to address that,
you know, we are all unique people, but I think there should be
some leniency with uniforms, you know, letting us use it
as a form of expression but at the same time,
it does unify us, so, yeah. Willoughby? Yeah, I think that
it’s an interesting question. And I think that we need to remember
as well that it is an equalising factor because not every kid can afford
to walk in wearing Gucci. (LAUGHTER) So there certainly can be,
to an extent, a bit of an unconscious
sort of judgement of students who aren’t necessarily wearing
the greatest clothes. And something we can take pride in
is the school that we are at and proudly say,
“I’m a student at this school,” so I think it’s definitely something
that’s worth maintaining and it’s something
that should be enforced in our school system as well. Kristina, we’ve all seen
the American movies, we know that they wear
whatever the hell they want and not even with laces, so… Yeah, well, I went to
a Catholic high school, I went to Catholic primary school, so I actually wore a uniform
in America, which I, at the time, hated. I thought, “This is so awful.” And then I realised all the benefits
when I went to university and suddenly had to pick out
what I was going to wear and had to think about
what other people were wearing and everything you wore
sent a message about who you were
and what you were trying to say. It’s was all… I was with you, you know, let’s go to the pyjamas,
frankly. But here’s the other thing – in life, you’re going to
wear uniforms. That’s the reality of it. You know, Gladys and I both wear
a form of a uniform when we go into parliament. You know, various jobs
have uniforms. Tony doesn’t rock up in something
much different every week than what he’s wearing right now. This is what life…
Different tie. Different tie. (LAUGHTER)
This is what life is like. And sometimes you just have to dress
for the occasion. I do this for my mother, by the way. Oh, OK.
The tie especially. Varsha? Um, well, I definitely… So, I went to school in the US
for a bit, for about four years,
and there was no uniform, and one thing my family always says
is that it costs a lot of money ’cause you’ve got to buy new clothes
every single day, it’s a lot. But one of the things is, like, I feel like it hinders a freedom
of expression just that little bit and I think that’s something
that’s really, really important, especially as we’re growing
and developing in high school, I think that’s very vital
to who we become, but I also do see it as
an equalising factor to an extent. So, I feel like the fact that, you
know, like Willoughby was saying, we all can’t afford Gucci, I think that’s so, so, so important
to remember. So, I do agree that we need uniform, but I think, like Aurora was saying,
a little bit of leniency to at least wear a colour of socks
that we want instead of black or white
would be lovely. So, yeah. We’re going to have to
leave it there. And I might say
for the future Q&A host, tank tops and tattoos
are going to be the thing so if you’re not prepared
to try that out, just forget it. That’s all we have time for tonight. Please thank our panel –
William Gillett, Gladys Berejiklian, Aurora Matchett, Willoughby Duff,
Kristina Keneally and Varsha Yajman. (APPLAUSE) Thank you very much. You can continue the discussion
on Facebook and Twitter. Next week on Q&A, in collaboration with the Melbourne
Writers Festival and Antidote, with Black Lives Matter and
civil rights activist DeRay Mckesson, the author
of White Tears/Brown Scars, Australian journalist Ruby Hamad, screenwriter, broadcaster and
social media campaigner Benjamin Law, the dean of the Columbia School
of Journalism, Steve Coll, and American novelist Lionel Shriver, who provoked a storm of controversy
during her last visit to Australia and has been invited back by
the Centre for Independent Studies. Until next Monday, goodnight. (APPLAUSE) Captions by Red Bee Media Copyright Australian
Broadcasting Corporation

Danny Hutson

36 thoughts on “Q&A High School Special | Q&A

  1. lmao, that Varsha girl has glassed over eyes and is parroting the red-green alliance talking points. Willoughby Duff, on the other hand has valid points and seems well read. By all means, advocate for women's rights and the climate, but it's bad optics to be a drone, and that helps the other side which makes me happy.

  2. dunno what it is about qanda on youtube that attracts the most chudtastic reactionaries to squawk about tax and the left.

  3. It’s very simple to make financial demands of everyone else, when you’re 16 years old and have spent your entire life doing so of your parents. Expectations of others and your own priorities become very different, once you also have to work to pay for housing, food, utilities, transport and taxes.

  4. Gladys looks VERY uncomfortable. History will show up our useless, lazy, heads-buried-in-the sand pollies who have sold away the futures of our next generations for a quick buck today. Roll on the revolution!

  5. The fundamental consideration that young people must realise is that while they have just as much right to form opinions as anyone, they lack the life experiences that older people have. There is no getting around that simple fact.

  6. I bet we all went to school with that idealistic girl on the end there screaming climate change, abortion and women's rights without any logical argument ahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha

  7. I noticed the comment that said that there was no argument about climate change -it was scientific fact -further down the track you have people ignoring the real scientific fact that life begins with conception!

  8. Dull…egocentric,entitled,indoctrinated children waffling about “action” on climate change. Zero about the actual costs,real temperature impacts of proposed soltions,adaptation etc.

  9. Man-made climate change is a lie (but a clever one given the overflowing indoctrinated masses). The most obvious cause of changing climate is solar cycles. Research suns spots, solar radiation, and Grand Solar Minimum, not to mention the lengthy historical documentation on how the sun affects climate (hint: look at the collapse of empires in association with the solar cycles, especially in but not limited to China).

  10. Next time please leave the politicians out. The students tend to defer to them and parrot their views instead of expressing their own opinion, which is expected as they are still in a school environment. All round it was quite a good episode with some particular standouts; I thought Varsha made a strong passionate case and Willoughby could be substituted for any current Coalition politician and I wouldn't even notice.

  11. We don't have TIME to debate action on the climate anymore. There is no time left for "transition", we need to rapidly change the global economy from carbon. Civil conversation and the resulting in inaction has run out the clock for anything less than the most drastic of action.

  12. China is going to take over the world because they're still a civilisation where children are raised to respect their elders, work hard and patiently earn their position in society. Industrialisation and the use of fossil fuels to power the revolution are the primary driving factors which made the massive global population explosion over the past 200 years possible and made the majority of our lives even possible. We're all direct beneficiaries of this practice, so while yes we need to explore solutions to this problem it's disingenuous to place the entire blame on the previous generations for doing their best to drive civilsation forward.

  13. I am saddened by these student's comments and viewpoints. The world is becoming morally bankrupt in my opinion. I hope this group of students does not represent the norm. Abortion is not about "the bodily autonomy of women", it's about the murdering of unborn children and how we as a society view it as a moral issue. Conservatives obviously care more about the child's rights than do the hard-left social justice mob. Ironic really.

    The mockery of Andrew Bolt in this show was despicable. How is it that these left-wingers can get away with it but conservatives have to be silenced or sacked? Andrew Bolt is right more often than his critics (who should look in a mirror occasionally). Andrew Bolt is right to criticize the hypocrisy on the hard-left and he is right to criticize the virtue signalling on the hard-left.

    Stupid comment about the 5000 watching Sky. Probably nearer to 100,000. Difference is we have to pay to watch and we pay because the content better than the free stuff.

  14. How pathetic is it when our children have been brainwashed into thinking they need to address the issues
    of the day when so called responsible Adults should have. Obviously this has had a direct effect considering

    the appalling decline in basic education levels of all Australian school children.

    When they become the leaders of our society, how will they be able to address complex issues when most

    struggle with the basics of reading, writing & arithmetic on completion or leaving high school.

    I truly feel sorry for them not being able just to enjoy being young before the reality of world sinks in.

  15. This Willoughby guy is talking like he's already a politician. This is his audition tape for the liberal party. He said "i don't think young people should be talked down to because of their age, I don't think we should talk down to young people…" dude you're in high school!!!! Stop acting like you're not one of those young people!

  16. The way politicians are brainwashed and try to brainwash the young generation is astonishing! Go out and protest for climate change! If you all go out nobody can stop you. Missing one day of school means nothing, and what they really want is for you not to think for yourself. That's what school is for, so you may continue on the same BS these climate destroyers have all their lives. Don't listen to people who support the status quo!

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