29 May | '2024

Since the beginning of 2024 and the school year, I’ve been visiting many schools to present school leaders with certificates and to engage in discussions about leadership skills. In the heart of the Gold Coast, Moncrieff is home to 33 schools, 20 of which I have had the privilege to visit so far this year. I love to sit down with the senior class cohorts and discuss all things leadership, goal setting, dreams and aspirations for life after school, and to see if I can help them in any way possible.

I’m inspired by our youth, with their informed questions about Canberra and my role as their federal member and shadow minister for youth. It was indeed a pleasure to answer their questions, be present in their lives and educate them a little bit more on Australia’s democratic processes. The year 6 or years 11 and 12 students were very inquisitive, and our interactions are always very candid, with nothing off-limits. Many students asked about my favourite part of the job, and of course that’s an easy answer, which is: engaging, indeed, with them and my Gold Coast community that I love so dearly.

During each school visit, I touched on what I believe are the three Ls of leadership: listening, learning and leading by example. It is important, as a leader, to actively hear what people say and to understand what they really mean. I also outlined that learning doesn’t just stop when you finish school. It goes far beyond that, into tertiary study, into a trade or indeed into a job. We should all never stop learning.

Hopefully, all of us here in this place listen to the three Ls of leadership. The third, and lucky last, is leading by example. Young people cannot be what they cannot see. So the examples that we set are the showcase for these young leaders. I always encourage young people to make up their own minds, when they see and hear their leaders, as to whether they think they are good or not, and they, of course, take that on board.

I also talk about the ABC of life, which I consider to be that your attitude affects your behaviour and that your behaviour then affects the consequences of that, good or bad. Another key reminder that I talk about is to say yes to any opportunity that young people have in front of them, even if they are nervous or they feel that they are out of their comfort zone, because we all know that that is when young people grow and learn. That is when older people grow and learn as well.

Time doesn’t always permit me to visit all of the schools across the central Gold Coast at the beginning of the year, so, to all of those schools in the heart of the Gold Coast: I congratulate your school leaders and I wish you all the very best for the rest of your year. I am so very proud of your achievements. Your role is critical to those around you who rely on you to lead the way to a better future.

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