Page 2936 - Week 09 - Thursday, 18 August 2005

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I was talking to one of the teachers in the school who deals with a lot of the issues and he was saying that often he will just play a game of pool with the kids and that is when lots of issues come out rather than when they are sitting in a more formal situation across the table from each other. The kids feel more relaxed when they are playing pool or chess or just sitting down and relaxing.

While I was in the centre, a large number of students from the student representative council were enjoying a game of pool and seemed very relaxed in their new, comfortable surrounds. I was very impressed with the mural painted on one wall by a group of year 9 students. The contemporary design really livened up the room and added to the relaxed student-friendly atmosphere.

The drop-in centre at Lanyon high school was established under the youth support workers in high schools program. The program has seen the introduction of a youth support worker in every government high school. This ACT government initiative has enabled schools across the ACT to develop further support mechanisms for students. I congratulate Ms Whitehill, Doug Finlay and Lanyon high school’s principal, Michael Hall, and all the other staff and volunteers involved in setting up the Hub. It is a wonderful centre and one that I am sure the students will get a lot of use out of.

I know that Michael Hall and Doug Finlay, and probably Ms Whitehill, have plans to do a bit more with the centre and, hopefully, they are already eyeing off an area in which to expand. I thank the students and staff at Lanyon school for making me feel very welcome last Thursday, and wish them the best of luck with the centre.

Reckless valour

MR SMYTH (Brindabella—Leader of the Opposition) (5.19): I wish to bring to the attention of members the Quantum Leap production for this year entitled Reckless valour, which was on at the Playhouse from 27 July to 30 July. It was a moving tribute by 54 young Australians to young Australians in war. The interesting thing in this respect was the bravery of the Australian War Memorial in allowing young film-makers and dancers to use the memorial itself, from the Stone of Remembrance at the very front of the memorial, through the grand entrance to the memorial, right up to the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. I think it was tastefully done and it sent out a real message that young people, particularly here in Canberra, do not see any glory at all in war but are willing to discuss war and in particular the contribution of young people like themselves who, for more than 90 years, have gone off to defend this country.

The journey of the work, as they called it, had a prologue which was a homage to the Australian War Memorial. It then looked at the Pool of Reflection, and what it is that we see when we look at ourselves. The performance then discussed the Roll of Honour. It looked at those 103,000 names., and how you can actually honour any of them who have paid that price. It looked at the Hall of Memory—the faces of the enemy, because obviously war is a two-sided thing—and challenged us not to forget. Another great part was how they linked up with another great ACT company, Bearcage Productions, and used not just the medium of dance but also the medium of film in the Playhouse. It was very effectively done on a screen that came and went, and you almost did not notice that it was there in the first place.

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