Page 3034 - Week 10 - Tuesday, 15 September 2015

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Residents of Casey expressed enormous frustration that they are yet to be told when they can expect to be connected, when their neighbours right across the road are able to access the full benefits of the NBN. It remains unclear when Nicholls, an island of non-NBN connectivity in the region, will get NBN and, more importantly, whether it is fibre to the home or fibre to the node. NBN is not confirming these details with Nicholls. I know this is even more frustrating for our fellow residents across the Barton Highway and some of the staggeringly slow speeds for many residents in Tuggeranong.

The national broadband network is one of the biggest, most important infrastructure projects in Australia’s history. Internet access is no longer a luxury; it is a utility. It is vital to the way we will provide health services, deliver world-class education and build a strong and growing economy. My federal Labor colleagues and I and this government will continue to advocate that Canberrans are given timely access to quality, fast broadband.

Interschool parliamentary debate

MS LAWDER (Brindabella) (4.41): It was my honour and privilege to be the presiding officer for part of the interschool parliamentary debates held here in the chamber of the Legislative Assembly on 4 September 2015 for the years 8 and 9 debates. I acknowledge each of the 44 students who took part and represented their schools with pride and distinction. Those schools included Campbell High School, Canberra High School, Kingsford Smith School, Lyneham High School, Namadgi School, St John Paul II College, Radford College, Telopea Park School and Wanniassa School.

Public speaking is a great skill to have and it stands you in good stead for the rest of your life. The parliamentary debate, with its emphasis on impromptu speaking, thinking on your feet, analytical thinking and the art of persuasion, teaches you how to present your argument and hopefully bring other people along with you. Being able to act as presiding officer for part of this exciting day was terrific. I have no doubt the students learnt a great deal from the opportunity, and I learnt a great deal from them as well.

I understand the importance of listening to our young people, to give them a voice in government and to help develop the next generation of our leaders. This is something in which all responsible members of our parliament must be engaged. I was impressed by their ability to get their points across, the analysis they put towards their issues and the solutions they came up with. Their ability to argue with other students as part of the debate and to disagree but still show respect and not take things personally was very worthwhile seeing. Debate is not just empty words; it is a flow of ideas and thoughts in a logical way to get your message across. These students demonstrated those skills admirably on the day. They exhibited enthusiasm and exuberance as well in getting their message across.

Being a leader of today or tomorrow means you have to be able to convince people and explain your ideas, and the speakers at these parliamentary debates did that. It

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