Page 2892 - Week 08 - Tuesday, 5 August 2008

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There were also experiments and research assignments into solar energy and other different forms of energy. On the whole, it showed that young people are taking on the issues that confront them.

I just want to say that issues like climate change are really difficult ones to discuss with children because they are potentially very depressing and very frightening. I think that, as educators and as leaders in our community, we have to find ways of talking about these issues that empower young people rather than frighten them. We know what despair means. Often it means trying to avoid the issue. Certainly we have seen denial and we have seen scepticism, which I believe is a kind of denial, on issues of climate change.

Anyone who saw Four Corners last night would be aware that even the cautious predictions of scientists are now being ratcheted up to a degree that is really frightening. It means that our generation will face the consequences of our actions, whereas perhaps some of us thought before that we were putting it off to another generation. That generation, the next generation, the one that will experience the worst effects of climate change, are learning in our schools.

It is very crucial to note the role that schools play. It is important for young people, for children, for anyone, to feel that they can make a difference, and a lot of the work in last night’s display indicated that young people do feel they can make a difference; they have the benefit, with science being an interactive process, that they can build on the work that has been done before; they can take it further. Indeed, that will be their role.

In terms of facing the situation, I hope that in our schools we will continue to put an emphasis on science. I am very glad we are not having the debate that is often had in the United States about creationism versus evolutionary; we are spared that one and that waste of energy. We know that we are going to need to evolve very quickly indeed if we are going to overcome the challenges that are put before us by climate change.

My praise goes to the science teachers of the ACT who are continuing to do the hard work for organising last night’s opening and display and for the opportunity for young people to participate and show us what they can do.


Norths rugby club

MR STEFANIAK (Ginninderra) (5.18): There are a couple of matters I want to raise. Firstly, I will be writing to all of you—and I do not mind giving ministers the heads-up here—in relation to what I see as a rather disturbing situation of a local resident who appears to have been victimised by someone who has it in for him as a result of a friendship that fell out. I will not go into any detail here but there are some quite interesting and disturbing aspects.

This person has been not so much harassed, but various government agencies have been enlisted as a result of complaints. There are some issues there. There are some

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