Page 915 - Week 03 - Thursday, 30 March 2006

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unable to live with their birth parents through no fault of their own. CREATE aims to provide children and young people within the care system with opportunities to connect positively with their peers in care, to be empowered to participate in the decision-making process that affects their lives and their communities, and to be a part of positive change within their lives and communities. Canberra CREATE offers, amongst other things, young consultant training, which is what I was helping out with today.

I was asked to give a speech to them about public speaking and I felt quite inadequate, but I think that we had quite a fun discussion today. We got off the topic of public speaking quite a bit and I had a question from one of the participants about whether I like John Howard, although the words were a little bit stronger than that. The same participant asked me whether my colleagues liked John Howard, to which I responded that I think that John Howard has been a fantastic Prime Minister.

I was also asked whether I had a driver or whether I had a sports car. These were some of the questions, but there were also some questions more related to the topic of public speaking, about preparation and about getting nervous and answering tricky questions. I did find it quite a fun experience. I have been told that they are going to read the Hansard and I am going to have to tell them how long I spoke for and they are going to measure how many words per second I actually speak because I told them that I do tend to speak fast and used to speak even faster. So I am looking forward to them getting back to me with my figures on this one. I am trying to get through a bit of information here.

The other thing that happened is that we did a bit of a straw poll on extending voting to 16 and 17-year-olds and we had a bit of a split room. Dr Foskey probably still has some work to do to convince the average young person that they should have the right to vote from the age of 16.

Mr Speaker, it was an excellent experience. I really did enjoy myself. I think that they are doing some very good work and I look forward to seeing how they progress. I did have a lot of fun and I am looking forward to getting the results back as to how many words per second I have spoken in the last four minutes and 40 seconds, and now I will sit down.

Death of Mr John Agnew

MS GALLAGHER (Molonglo—Minister for Education and Training, Minister for Children, Youth and Family Support, Minister for Women and Minister for Industrial Relations) (6.09): It is with deep regret that I inform the Assembly that John Agnew OAM, principal of the Department of Education and Training’s instrumental music program, passed away early on Wednesday morning.

Many of the members of the Assembly will be familiar with the work that John has done as an educational leader of this internationally renowned music program over the last 17 years. Your children may have been offered the opportunity to learn an instrument or you may have been entertained by one of the four combined bands that he has run to provide a challenge for the program’s more talented students.

During his time as principal of the IMP, John extended the program from 24 to 40 primary and secondary schools, and each year 1,700 students are gently helped over

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